Innovative Ideas for a Smart Stellenbosch: Nominations open for the second annual #IdeasForChange Challenge

With steady population growth and rapid urbanisation in the Cape Winelands expected to put severe pressure on the district’s public services[i], Stellenbosch Network has opened nominations for its second annual #IdeasForChange Challenge. In doing so, the organisation invites all people living, working or studying in Stellenbosch and surrounds to submit their innovative ideas towards making Stellenbosch a “Smarter City” and stand the chance to win their share of R20,000 in cash prizes and more to bring their idea to life.

Run in partnership with Stellenbosch University and the SU LaunchLab, the competition seeks to uncover creative, innovative and scalable ideas to improve municipal decision-making and the quality of life of citizens. These ideas must utilise data and technology, but can span various fields – from transport, housing, and public safety, to healthcare, education, and public services.

“As a globally renowned hub for knowledge and innovation, we want to ensure that Stellenbosch remains at the leading-edge of integrating modern thinking and technology into daily life,” says Hanli Brink, Operations Manager at Stellenbosch Network and the organiser of this year’s event. “And by providing a supportive platform for new ideas and entrepreneurs, we’re hoping to encourage forward-looking thinking among local people to solve local problems.”

Open to all residents and businesses operating in the Stellenbosch region, this year’s competition boasts two categories for entry:

The New Ideas category is for potential entrepreneurs and innovators without an established business, but with a good idea that makes business sense. These ideas should be innovative, financially sustainable, and aimed at solving real issues related to helping Stellenbosch become a better place to live, study and work.

On the other hand, the category for Existing Businesses is looking for organised companies providing technology-based solutions to improve the local quality of life in Stellenbosch. These businesses can be formal or informal, and for- or non-profit – however, they must be revenue generating, have the potential to become self-sustaining entities, and should not be donor-dependent or a limited-timeframe project.

Regardless of category, all entrants will receive free entry into an online value proposition masterclass provided by Sologix to help them develop their concepts further. Following this, a panel of experts will select the top three ideas which will then go head-to-head on social media for the public’s vote which will ultimately decide the winner. The first-place prize-winner will receive a R10,000 cash prize and free entry into one of the SU LaunchLab programmes to the value of R20,000, with those scooping second and third place walking away with R6,000 and R4,000 respectively.

On being crowned the victor of last year’s #IdeasForChange Challenge, co-founder of Basket App, Lunga Momoza, says, “Winning the competition was a huge steppingstone in my entrepreneurial journey. It opened many doors and opportunities and really accelerated our development as a business. The prize money helped us build-out our product offering, and the training provided helped us develop the soft skills we needed to properly sell the concept to investors. And because of this, we’ve gone on to be hugely successful in a range of other competitions and incubation programmes.”

“Last year’s entrants provided us with such a rich and practical range of solutions, and we’re incredibly excited to see what ideas have been brewing in the minds of Stellenbosch locals over the past year. To this end, we encourage anyone with a good idea to enter,” concludes Brink.

To submit your idea and stand the chance of winning your share of more than R20,000 in prizes, click here.

Entries close 8 October 2021. All applicants will be notified by 21 October 2021 whether they have been shortlisted or not.

About Stellenbosch Network:

Stellenbosch Network is a cross-sector and inter-disciplinary membership organisation that brings people together from industry, government, society, and academia with the aim of sharing ideas, fostering connections, and encouraging collaboration and partnership for inclusive economic growth in the greater Stellenbosch area.

For more information, go to