“Everyone says that youth are the future. The youth are not our future – the future is now!”

So says Kelebogile Pega, Founder and Director of Keglope Investments at the Youth and Green Economy Dialogue of Sustainability Week in Tshwane last week.

Pega, an entrepreneur whose sustainability-driven company re-uses and repurposes various materials, was among a panel of young speakers who are working in various sectors and industries to address some of the challenges facing society today. Energy, Technology, Water Solutions, and Entrepreneurship are just some of the topics discussed by young people who are not just speaking about the problems, but actively doing something to address them.

Some of these solutions were presented in the form of a Youth Innovation Challenge, hosted by the City of Tshwane in partnership with Innovation Hub. Of the 20 sustainability companies owned and run by young adults between 18 and 35 years of age who participated in the programme, nine will be incubated. After a gruelling pitching process, the top 3 were revealed at the Dialogue last week:

  • Lesego Seloane from Renowa Creations provides functional and aesthetically pleasing landscaping solutions
  • Rirhandzu Chuma from Azania Blue Tech Solutions helps municipalities alleviate electricity theft
  • Rendani Mmbodi, Moses Mhlawa and Tiisetso Mphuti from Geekkulcha offer a water monitoring system with a smart tank

These top 3 walk away with prizes valued at over R 80 000 each, which includes innovation incubation, a laptop, printer, external hard drive, and a branding package valued at R 20 000 to assist with their marketing.

The Proportional Representatvie Councillor of the City of Tshwane, Kwena Moloto, congratulated the winners with their achievements.

“Our youth will and must be the driving force of change,” he said.

To find out more about the event, visit http://sustainabilityweek.co.za/ and http://www.africancapitalcities.org/. Join the conversation on Facebook @SustainabilityWeekSA and on Twitter @SustainWeekSA.