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Inkunz’Isematholeni Youth in Business Competition.


Project Outline / Background

As KwaZulu-Natal’s development agency, Ithala has established a number of initiatives aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and providing skills-development for the youth.
Aimed at changing mindsets, this competition is fashioned to encourage the youth of KwaZulu-Natal to take the reins and tackle the concept of self employment, instead of simply attempting to become a part of the formal employment realm. Ithala recognises the struggles facing the youth of South Africa and have therefore created the Inkunzi’ Isematholeni Youth in Business Competition, to address the rife unemployment amongst our youth.

Competition theme

In a bid to propagate the Inkunzi’ Isematholeni Youth in Business Competition in 2016, Ithala is proud to announce that we have partnered with the eThekwini Municipality, Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), Durban-based entrepreneurial programme InvoTech and our official media partners, Isolezwe, The Mercury and Gagasi fm . This partnership will ensure that the Inkunzi’ Isematholeni Youth in Business Competition, grows to new heights this year, by providing the youth of KwaZulu-Natal with the necessary guidance and funding they require to take turn their ideas into a successful reality. The key focus for this competition will be to drive innovation, specifically within the green economy field. It is for this reason, that our theme for this year’s competition is “Think Innovation, Think Green”. Business concepts/inventions that do not fall within these two categories will not be considered.

What is Innovation?

Innovation has been and continues to be an important area of study for a number of different disciplines, inclusive of economics, business, engineering, science, and sociology. Despite the fact that innovation has been studied in a variety of disciplines, the term is often poorly understood and is sometimes confused with related terms such as change, invention, design, and creativity.

Innovation is about helping organisations grow. Growth is often measured in terms of turnover and profit, but can also occur in knowledge, in human experience, and in efficiency and quality. Innovation is the process of making changes to something established by introducing something new that adds value to customers. As such, it can be radical or incremental, and it can be applied to products, processes, or services and in any organisation or venture.

What is Green Economy?

The green economy is defined as one that aims at reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, as well as one that aims for sustainable development without degrading the environment. This is a challenge that cannot be taken on without being innovative. The Inkunzi’ Isematholeni Youth in Business Competition, therefore encourages youth to come up with innovative ideas by identifying gaps in their environments and coming up with business ideas which address these gaps. What qualifies as an innovation? Any original concept – a new or improved device/ product/ material/ business process or service, falls within the definition of innovation.


For adjudication purposes, entrants must attach a profile containing the following information:

  • A business concept which addresses entrepreneurship gaps in their communities.
  • All concepts should be unique and Innovative (‘Think Green’).
  • The concepts must be cost effective.
Based on these criteria, it is therefore critical that the entrant provides a detailed concept document which highlights and details how the business concept will work, the technology required and the projected cost implications involved.


Ithala insists on several critical pre-conditions, including that all entrants’ businesses are:

  • At least 51% Black-owned,
  • KwaZulu-Natal-based,
  • Viable and sustainable, and
  • Promoting job creation.
All finalists must be available for interviews regarding their business ideas. This is an important element in the preliminary judging process.


  • Following the closing date, all entries will be verified and evaluated by independent judges
  • The top 20 entries will be shortlisted to attend a one-week Business Skills Development Workshop. This workshop will assist the finalists in preparing a comprehensive business concept. This document must be submitted at the end of the workshop for final evaluation.
  • From the 20 finalists, the three individuals with the best business ideas will selected.
  • Based on set judging criteria, the selected finalist’s entries will be evaluated by Ithala, TIA and InvoTech.

Grand Prize

The winner will be awarded with business support of up to R250 000.00 per winner (limited to three (3) winners). Based on the business requirements, this business support package may include but not limited to the following:

  • Aftercare programme by TIA
  • Aftercare programme by InvoTech
  • Business Mentorship,
  • Product development,
  • Business skills development programmes
  • Patenting of inventions.


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Ithala SOC Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithala Development Finance Corporation Limited