07 May 2021

Initiate is back with career-making opportunities for African energy students and SMMEs

Submitted by Annemarie Roodbol
Initiate is back with career-making opportunities for African energy students and SMMEs

Unique platform to launch young talent and entrepreneurs in power sector

Are you a postgraduate student enrolled at an African university with a brilliant idea that could impact the energy sector? Or an SMME or entrepreneur with a product or service that could change the industry forever?

The Initiate Young Talent Challenge is back, giving postgraduates the opportunity to be innovative and disrupt the power sector. The Initiate Digital Exhibition Hub is also inviting SMMEs and energy entrepreneurs in the energy space to apply for its exciting annual showcase in June.

“We’re back and we’re looking for fresh faces, fresh ideas and lots of talent!” says Nazlee Fredericks, the Initiate project lead, which is an initiative of Clarion Events in cooperation with the Enlit Africa event – formerly the African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa conference and exhibition that has been gathering the continent’s power pros for more than two decades.

A chance to disrupt the industry

Naz explains: “the Initiate Young Talent Challenge will give students the opportunity to represent their university to complete a series of challenges during the Enlit Africa digital conference and exhibition in June. This is their chance to disrupt the industry with innovative and new ways of thinking. This is a unique not-to-be-missed opportunity to not only shape their future but also to start establishing a sound and professional personal brand, taking their careers to the next level."

The organisers of the Young Talent Challenge invite post-graduate students to apply online. All applications will be vetted by an advisory board and an expert panel of judges from the industry. The top selections will then go through to the final round of challenges that takes place during the Enlit Africa digital event from 8 to 10 June. The winning team stands a chance to win a global mentorship by key industry players and all the benefits of having access to an executive network in the industry. 

This includes extensive media coverage of the competition and the winners and a feature in the African Power & Energy Elites publication and on the ESI Africa platform, which includes digital and print. These leading trade journals focused on the power and energy sectors on the continent will enable the winner to showcase his or her research across Africa and the globe.

The Initiate Digital Exhibition Hub also provides a platform and opportunities for SMMEs and entrepreneurs in the African power and energy Industry. Also taking place in a digital arena, the Initiate SMME hub will be part of the Enlit Africa-Connect platform. This will allow SMMEs to showcase their products, network with potential investors or buyers - all while also increasing their brand awareness and digital footprint.

SMMEs stand a chance to win an exhibition stand which is valued at R59 400. There are 10 spaces available and applications can be done online too.

  • Click here to apply for the Initiate Young Talent Challenge.
  • Click here to apply for the Initiate Digital Exhibition Hub

The start of something big

During the previous live Initiate Young Talent Challenge that took place in May 2019 during African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa (now Enlit Africa) at the CTICC in Cape Town, a team of four Kenyan students took first prize with their innovative product called Kijiji, a solar-powered container producing essential services and empowering rural communities. The team went on to collect more awards, including third place in the Virtual Efficiency for Access Design Challenge.

“2020 was an interesting year, one that influenced the change towards digitalisation of some sectors,” says one of the winning team members, renewable energy expert Ignatius Maranga, adding: “it was also a year of self-reflection. We put in a lot of effort and struggled with virtual meeting fatigue. Nevertheless, we are still trying to offer the best solutions to the challenges. We learnt that perseverance always wins the day!”

“The Initiate Young Talent Challenge not only challenges you to come up with practical energy solutions to the energy crisis that the continent is faced with. It also gives you the opportunity to be mentored by power and energy experts.”
- Carol Ngwenya, PhD candidate, Department of Chemical Engineering, UCT and former Initiate finalist.

“I would recommend this to any student. There are lots of ideas out there and what I have learnt is that the owners of these ideas only require an opportunity to explore them. Initiate is the opportunity they need.”
- Frederick Amariati, Masters student in Energy Economics and Policy, Strathmore University, Kenya and former Initiate finalist.

Industry partnerships

Initiate has managed to gather a who’s who in the sector to once again partner and support these initiatives, including GreenCape, BRICS Youth Energy Agency, University of Cape Town, Enel Foundation, Stellenbosch University, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the South African Renewable Energy Business Incubator, Divaine Growth Solutions, South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) and the Circle of Global Business Women (CGBW).

- “We have collaborated with Initiate to drive transformation in the sector because we believe successful entrepreneurship is a catalyst for economic growth, therefore empowering SMEs should be prioritised in any country because when you support SMEs, you're not only supporting a dream but the economy.”
- Yolanda Mabuto, Chairperson, SAIEE Entrepreneurship and Innovation Chapter

- "I believe that this partnership between Initiate and SAIEE will unlock extensive opportunities in knowledge, innovation, expertise and exposure for all members involved. We're looking forward to this collaboration".
- Thato Oloo, Innovation and Digital Economy Working Group Leader, SAIEE Entrepreneurship and Innovation Chapter

- “At Enel Foundation we are proud to continue supporting Initiate Young Talent Challenge programme by Enlit Africa dedicated to African students and young professionals working in the electricity industry. We intend to show the role of education and knowledge sharing connecting the next generation of talents to ensure a clean energy future with access for all.”
- Christian Zulberti, Head of Relations with Universities and Research Centres

About the organisers

Launched as part of Clarion Energy’s European Utility Week (now Enlit Europe), the Initiate platform has been bringing together start-ups, students, corporate executives, public sector innovators and investors from around the world since 2014. The concept went global last year as part of the rebranded Enlit event series in Asia, the US, Australia, Africa and India.

Enlit Africa (formerly African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa) is the flagship energy event organised by Clarion Events Africa, a multi-award-winning Cape Town-based exhibition and conference producer across the continent in the energy, infrastructure and mining sectors. Other well-known events by Clarion Events on the continent include Future Energy East Africa, Future Energy Nigeria, the Utility CEO Forums, Nigeria Mining Week, DRC Mining Week and Africa Mining Forum. Clarion Events Africa is part of the UK-based Clarion Events Group which runs over 40 events that cover the oil, gas, power and energy sectors, making it one of Clarion Events’ largest portfolios.

Dates for Initiate @ Enlit Africa-Digital Event
Conference and expo: 8-9 June 2021

Website: https://www.enlit-africa.com/Co-located%20Events/initiate/what-is-initiate  
Twitter: @initiate_africa    
LinkedIN: AfricaInitiate
Facebook: AfricaInitiate

Special Projects, Brand and Stakeholder Relationship Manager: Naz Fredericks
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Tel: +27 (0) 21 001 3822 / +27 (0) 71 404 1142