South Africa C3

Durban University of Technology; Durban, South Africa

Durban University of Technology students are partnering with Vukuzame Self Help Disability Cooperative to empower its members to grow and sell seedlings.

The team’s business model will not only provide income for disabled entrepreneurs, but also address food insecurity, which has been exacerbated by drought and water shortages. The cooperative aims to grow horticultural products like tomatoes in green house tunnels with drip irrigation, which will allow for the production of crops year-round. The team also aims to create a simple solar-powered cooling system to minimize losses in their produce post-harvest.

North-West University Potchefstroom; Potchefstroom, South Africa

North-West University Potchefstroom students are partnering with Lesego Centre, a local senior center, to empower residents to earn additional income by producing and selling recycled soap.

The students found a steady supply of ingredients in local hotels, which now contribute discarded soap to the venture. The soap is then recycled into a safe, affordable product intended for household and industrial use. The team will equip the senior center with the skills needed to sustainably manage the business, including areas of budgeting, sourcing and production. The ultimate goal of the project is to not only provide income for the soap producers, but also create affordable sanitation products for the local community.

Tshwane University of Technology; Pretoria, South Africa

Tshwane University of Technology students are working with a small community in the Northwest Province to generate economic opportunity through sustainable agriculture. Through their Agropolis project, the team aims to develop up to 200 hectares of farmland. Using modern farming practices, drip irrigation and clean technology, farmers will cultivate crops including cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, sorghum and sunflowers. The team's business model for the farm also includes the production of organic fertilizer and biofuels to provide sustainable energy.

University of Pretoria; Pretoria, South Africa

University of Pretoria students are working to improve access to home lighting, which is deterred by lack of electricity in many informal settlements across South Africa. The team designed a fully-automated solar light that costs only R120, compared to the R900 – R1,000 that a household spends on candles each year. The light uses a lithium-ion battery, which can provide high-intensity light for four hours and low-intensity light for up to 12 hours. To bring affordable light and employment opportunities in a local community, the team's venture will employ entrepreneurs, who will learn how to manufacture and sell the products.

Vaal University of Technology; Vanderbijlpark, South Africa

Working with Bantu Bonke, a local agricultural cooperative, the students at Vaal University of Technology are equipping farmers with skill sets, modern practices and new technologies to improve their livelihoods.

To build the farmers' acumen, the team will provide workshops covering topics ranging from entrepreneurship, financing, modern farming, forecasting and technology. The team will also help the farmers incorporate climate control technology to enable the cooperative to produce during the winter months for steady income throughout the year.