The Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA)/ Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) University Challenge, a youth empowerment programme aimed at identifying and financing the most innovative business idea from university students has grown in leaps and bounds.
According to Thabo Thamane, the CEDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a total of 218 applications received this year were 34 percent higher in comparison to 2018 applications. Thamane said the number of female submissions had also risen from 37 percent in 2018 to 40 percent in 2019, a welcome reflection of the growing interest of the girl child in entrepreneurship.
Thamane said the highest numbers of submissions were from Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) at 29 percent closely followed by the University of Botswana (UB) at 26 percent. Thamane revealed this at a press conference that was held this week, where the top ten contestants were announced.
CEDA, in collaboration with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) created the CEDA/DBSA University Challenge. The challenge calls upon the youth of Botswana enrolled in institutions of higher learning at all levels, Certificate, Diploma, Bachelors Degree, Masters Degree and Doctoral Programmes to come up with implementable solutions to issues affecting the country.
Thamane said following the Top 10 selection and announcement, the finalists went through a rigorous training on presentation skills.
“The purpose of the training was to equip them with the relevant skills and confidence ahead of these presentations, where they are expected to defend their projects. In addition to impressing the judges, I encourage contestants to make use of this platform to impress representatives of the business community present here today as they present an opportunity for business and professional linkages,” Thamane said.
The top ten finalists were given the last chance to impress the judges in an effort to win the big prize of P200, 000.00 or P250, 000.00 should a lady win.
“I would like to thank the participating universities for supporting this challenge, they allowed our team in their premises for activations as well as helped in reaching out to their students,” he said.