Winners of Innovate Durban’s six-month Maritime Youth Innovation Challenge were joint third-placed teams Reddy Bambi of TrailBlazer, Atlas Duma, Philisiwe Ngamlala of Sagiya Foundation, first-placed winners from Smartipants - Chiemela Onuka, Ntuthuko Msimango and Nonjabulo Gasa and second-placed Load Box’s Solam Dontsa and Mpumelelo Tembe.
Durban - After an inspiring and gruelling six-month challenge, innovators Smartipants were awarded first place in the Maritime Youth Innovation Challenge at the prize-giving awards ceremony held recently.

This is the fourth Youth Innovation Challenge, the flagship programme of Durban ideas and strategy incubator, Innovate Durban, with the 2018 challenge having a firm focus on the maritime industry.

A director on Innovate Durban’s board, Richard Gevers said it had been inspiring to see the young innovators looking at stimulating skills and activities around the ports.

The five-member winning team, Smartipants, focused their ideas on port infrastructure enhancement.

The team comprising Chiemela Onuka, Lindelwa Dlamini, Nonjabulo Gasa, Ntuthuko Msimango and Sandile Goqo won a R50000 grant from top global IT company Oracle and Innovate Durban; a six-month Acceleration Programme with Innovate Durban; a three-month internship with Transnet, and internship and support with global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon.

Law firm Adams & Adams will offer free consultations to all three winners, and for the top winner, they are offering free trade mark applications.

In second place was team Load Box’s Solam Dontsa and Mpumelelo Tembe, who won a R35000 grant through the Domino Foundation and Innovate Durban; a six-month Acceleration Programme with Innovate Durban, and a three-month internship with Transnet. Their challenge touched on the supply chain integration with Transnet.

Two teams, Trailblazer and the Sagiya Foundation, tied for third place. The two-man team from Trailblazer focused their challenge on skills development with shore-side staff in the ports optimising modern-day, technology-driven working environments. Sagiya Foundation’s winning challenge was the idea of a port radio station. They each get a R25000 grant through Innovate Durban; a three-month internship with Transnet, and six-month Acceleration Programme with Innovate Durban.

Managing Transnet’s innovation portfolio, Willie Coetzee was blown away by the ideas. “The quality of thinking and the proposals presented have been impressive throughout the process. The different concepts are fresh and exciting and bring about new thinking in the age-old trade of maritime while addressing pressing problems in the port of Durban.”

Durban University of Technology head of Maritime Studies, Leon Govender, said Innovate Durban’s maritime challenge was important for the city and the only maritime youth challenge in the country.

The themes of the challenges included Infrastructure, Environment, Capacity and Transport & Logistics.

The Mercury