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As 2020 draws to a close, and the world nudges towards the not-so-new normal in nearly every sphere and industry, finding and implementing solutions to building resilient cities is key.

Traditional offices have shifted to Zoom, classic big-scale events are now streamed, and eCommerce is booming. Making these changes was not without its challenges, but perhaps a bit easier considering that many of the structures that make day-to-day virtual living possible had already been in place.

But what about the structures that still need to be conceived, developed and built? The radical ideas that may seem lofty, but offer tangible solutions for a sustainable future, that we can take with us into the next normal?

The spotlight is faced towards building green economies, and COVID-19 has prompted cities across the world to re-examine what is viable and valuable in the scheme of going green.

The benefits of going green

Considering a South African context, and specifically the Western Cape, the Green Economy Strategy Framework has been in effect since 2013. Devised to stimulate economic growth while reducing environmental degradation, this initiative has underpinned Africa’s first industrial symbiosis project, called WISP (The Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme).

Funded by government partners and administered through GreenCape, WISP has diverted more than 104,900 tonnes of waste from landfills, created over 200 economy-wide jobs, provided new business opportunities and generated over R120 million in revenue, cost savings and private investments.

From an economic standpoint, opting for a greener city reveals benefits in a number of ways. With this in mind, GreenCape has led the GreenPitch challenge to invite innovative, economically viable green business ideas that stimulate our economy. Speaking on 2019’s GreenPitch event, Brandon Paschal noted,

“At the launch that we do – four or five of these a year – I’m always fascinated and really proud of the level of innovation and entrepreneurs that South Africa produces.” – Brandon Paschal, Director of Innovation, LaunchLab (GreenPitch Judge 2019).

2021 GreenPitch Challenge

Entries for this years’ GreenPitch Challenge in collaboration with Invest Cape Town and The Business Hub, opened earlier this month and close at noon on Friday, 27 November 2020. Entrepreneurs, innovators and all business-minded individuals are invited to enter the next event, where successful applicants will have an opportunity to pitch their ideas a la Shark Tank, to a panel of esteemed judges.

The Rules:

To enter, visit the GreenPitch website and submit your idea – it must be positioned within at least one of the green economy sectors. Applications must be submitted as a 500-word written motivation, or a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation.

The business idea has to be in Pre-venture (Ideation, Conceptual) or Start-up (Registered and trading/Research and development) phase. The winner of this challenge will be awarded with business support worth R60 000, which includes; business plan development, market opportunities insight, marketing assistance and media exposure, business mentorship and skills training, access to funding and raising finance.

If this sounds like you, enter via the form here. And for some insight into 2019’s GreenPitch challenge, watch:

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