Submissions should observe the following:

  1. The web platform www.dbsayouthchallenge.org
  2. Submissions should be from anyone within the specified age group who is legally resident in South Africa at the time of submission.
  3. Participants should be between the ages of 18 – 35 years and should submit a fully completed application form in English.
  4. There is no application fee and applications that are incomplete in any way will be disqualified.
  5. Applicants must be in a position to support and motivate their submission at any stage of the process.
  6. Only submissions in the DBSA mandated sectors will be accepted, namely Water, Energy, Transport, ICT, Human Settlements (Housing), Education and Health.
  7. No email applications will be accepted.
  8. The innovation must be in the ideation stage and the proposed solution must not have been prototyped.
  9. Finalist entries will be eligible for funding worth a total of R1.5m.
  10. The winners and finalists will also be awarded a 12-month mentorship programme to assist with executing their innovative ideas and building them into successful businesses.

Selection Process

All applications received are subjected to a rigorous, multi-tier assessment/evaluation process based on the Youth Challenge criteria. Below is a summary of steps involved in the selection process with the proposed timelines:

  1. Screening:  Screening commences immediately on receipt of applications and continues until the competition is closed. The Youth Challenge Secretariat assesses that the received applications indeed meet the minimum requirements; that the applicant is a legal resident in South Africa at the time of entering, is the owner of the innovative idea, that there are contact details such as telephone/cellphone number; email and physical address; and that all the mandatory fields have been completed.
  2. Pre-Adjudication. Each entry is further scrutinised to check that the innovation is in the ideation stage; that the innovative idea falls within the DBSA mandated sectors; that only quality submissions go through to the preliminary assessments by adjudicators.
  3. Assessment by Adjudicators: Each application is independently reviewed by the adjudicators. The key issues being assessed are: whether the problem being addressed is a major challenge in the country; is the proposed solution better than existing ones; and is the solution potentially scalable. The adjudicators will select 10 nominees after the assessment and the names will be announced shortly thereafter. The 10 nominees will be arrived at by virtue of a ranking based on the collective number of points across all the adjudicators.
  4. Presentations to Judges: The selection panel will conduct interviews with the Top 10 nominees. The nominees will appear before the judges and present how the innovation will work as per the requirements of the Challenge. The presentations and interviews will be conducted exclusively in English with no exceptions whatsoever. The interviews will be conducted just before the Awards ceremony. The winner will be chosen after the presentations and announced during the Awards ceremony.
  5. All DBSA Youth Challenge processes and activities will be conducted in adherence to COVID 19 safety protocols.


The total prize pool will be R1.5 m and the winner will be awarded prize money for their winning innovation idea and if the first prize winner is female, there is an additional R 50, 000.00 to incentivise female entrepreneurship and innovation.

The winners and finalists will also be awarded a 12-month mentorship programme to assist with executing their innovative ideas and building them into successful businesses.

Awards Ceremony

The DBSA Youth Challenge 2021 winner will be announced and awarded at a virtual ceremony. Time will be announced by the DBSA and attendance will be by invitation and will include the Top 10 finalists, part of the DBSA staff as well as DBSA external stakeholders.

General Terms & Conditions

The selection of the eventual Youth Challenge winner entails a rigorous process designed to ensure the integrity of the process and quality participation at each level. By participating in this Youth Challenge, the applicant fully recognizes and agrees to adhere to the process set out in this document.

The following are the terms and conditions governing the DBSA Youth Challenge the “Youth Challenge”:

  1. No exceptions will be made for any applicant and failure to participate or meet the requirements at any level will lead to disqualification from subsequent levels.
  2. To avoid conflict of interest, the Youth Challenge selection panel members (which includes the Youth Challenge Secretariat, adjudicators and judges), all DBSA employees (permanent or temporary), technical validation experts, agents and family members of all these listed categories are not be eligible to participate. By entering and accepting the 2021 DBSA Youth Challenge T’s & C’s, the winner is required to participate in marketing activities promoting their innovations and the Youth Challenge in general.
  3. By accepting the Youth Challenge prize, the winner also accepts and agrees to dedicate some time to be an Ambassador for the Youth Challenge at the Bank’s discretion.
  4. By entering this Youth Challenge, participants agree to provide biographical details and photographs as and when requested by the DBSA, and further agree (as may be required for the purposes of the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013) to such details being used in marketing and promoting the Youth Challenge through various media platforms as may be required by the DBSA, for no compensation.
  5. No responsibility will be accepted by the DBSA for entries lost, damaged or delayed in the post, or due to computer error in transit.
  6. Entries that are incomplete, illegible or indecipherable will be disqualified.
  7. The DBSA has the right to cancel the Youth Challenge prize at any time, if a selected applicant is subsequently found to be ineligible or does not fulfil the conditions laid down for the prize.
  8. Any misrepresentation of any kind or use of copyrighted material will lead to disqualification from the Youth Challenge.
  9. Upon receipt of submission, the Youth Challenge Secretariat will ensure the strict protection of submissions, and everyone involved in the Youth Challenge selection process will be required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).
  10. Any intellectual property rights which may vest in the entries will vest with the winners, with the DBSA reserving the right of first refusal on further project development based on the entries or any component thereof.
  11. Entries may not be modified or withdrawn at any time as the submitted version constitutes the final one for purposes of the Youth Challenge.
  12. The DBSA, or any of its appointed agents will not be liable for the costs of generating ideas, entering the Youth Challenge, or development of material for purposes of participating in this Youth Challenge in whatever form.
  13. Entry is open to all persons in the designated age category legally resident in South Africa.
  14. In the event of a discrepancy between these standard terms and conditions and the details in the promotional material (or any other terms and conditions provided/referred to at the time of entry), the details of the promotional material (and any other terms and conditions provided/referred to at the time of entry) shall prevail.
  15. No group entries are allowed.
  16. Only one entry per person, per sector is allowed.
  17. The above (d) information may be shared internally and with the Youth Challenge technical service providers for the smooth running of the promotional campaigns.
  18. The Youth Challenge may be modified or withdrawn at any time by the DBSA at its sole discretion without notice.
  19. The decision of the Youth Challenge selection panel shall be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  20. There will be no prize money paid directly to the winners. The prize money will be retained by the DBSA’s Project Preparation division and utilized towards further idea development. Disbursement of the prize money will only occur against achievement of milestones set by the DBSA.
  21. The innovative idea should not have been entered into any other competition, currently or previously. It should be the first time that the idea is being entered into a challenge or competition.
  22. The presentations and interviews will be conducted only in English and no other language will be permitted.

Closing Date

The closing date for the DBSA 2021 Youth Challenge is 31 July 2021.


For any enquiries regarding the DBSA Youth Challenge, visit the Youth challenge website: http://www.dbsayouthchallenge.org/ and if you still have questions then contact the DBSA Youth Challenge Secretariat via email at infoyc@dbsa.org.