With South Africa facing numerous social and economic issues, many exacerbated by COVID-19, there is a real need for new ideas and innovative solutions to be fast-tracked. Enter the RE:SOLVE Challenge, an initiative that is designed to help South Africa’s innovative entrepreneurs to take their next steps. Now in its second iteration, RE:SOLVE has issued a Call for Entries for its next round of support and funding.
Once the Call for Entries closes, 80 ideas presented by individuals or teams, will be shortlisted to participate in an eight-month programme. Following this, the most viable solutions will get the opportunity to prototype their ideas thanks to a share of a total of R100 000 in grant funding on offer.
RE:SOLVE is funded by the City of Cape Town and managed by the Craft and Design Institute (CDI), a non-profit company with 20 years of success in developing creative people, small businesses and the craft and design sector in South Africa. RE:SOLVE’s aim is to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit of individuals and teams to co-create bold solutions, with a focus on access to economic opportunities, quality healthcare, food security, and water and sanitation.
With people at its heart, the Challenge will celebrate ideas that embrace:
- Community – enriching those around you
- Ecology – not harming, but rather benefiting the planet
- Dignity – valuing people and providing them with a sense of worth
- Profitability – an ability to make money
COVID-19 has changed everyone’s landscape. In South Africa it has brutally exposed the fault lines that pre-existed before the pandemic. Instability and volatility are high; inequalities are growing. There is a clear and present opportunity to re-evaluate, re-formulate and re-set. In this context, there is huge space to develop new ideas or fast-track and elevate existing equitable solutions.
“We are proud supporters of the RE:SOLVE initiative as these unprecedented times call for innovative thinking and product creation. As a City, our primary focus is on recovery through innovation and the support of fresh ideas from our ecosystems. These innovations will ultimately lead to the stabilisation of the economy and job creation. We call on individuals, teams and SMEs to participate in this challenge,” says Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management at the City of Cape Town.
RE:SOLVE will launch officially at the upcoming #cocreateDESIGN Festival running from 20-23 September 2021. The focus areas for this year’s Challenge are linked to the themes of the Festival, also organised by the CDI, in collaboration with the Dutch Consulate in Cape Town. There will be opportunities over the four days of the Festival for inspired innovators to attend facilitated design ideation sprints as a first step to preparing for the RE:SOLVE Challenge.
“The RE:SOLVE Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to join in a facilitated process that will help South African innovators take their ideas from concept to more of a reality,” says Erica Elk, Group CEO of the CDI.
“We are looking particularly for solutions that can improve the lives of the most vulnerable in our society. It’s a Challenge not just for designers, but for anyone who is passionate about contributing to finding solutions to some of our biggest problems and has ideas for products or services – new or already tried and tested in some way – that they want to get traction with. The RE:SOLVE Challenge is also ideal for those small businesses in the country who have ideas for new products or services that improve equitable access in our society – the Challenge can assist these innovative existing entrepreneurs to shift their concepts to the next level.”
The design thinking components of the Challenge will be facilitated by digital transformation practice dY/dX, a consultancy that assists businesses to adapt and grow in rapidly changing environments. The Challenge will also provide access to industry mentors and expose the participants to perspectives and networks that could help them to shape their ideas.
RE:SOLVE Challenge applications are online only and open on 20 September 2021. Entries close on 24 October 2021. The online applications process will only be available via this link and it goes live on 20 September only: https://www.thecdi.org.za/page/RESOLVE.