Creating Sustainable Cities of the Future: Seeking Stellenbosch’s Most Innovative Ideas

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South Africa is urbanising rapidly: 67 per cent of South Africans are already living in urban areas and this statistic is set to rise to 71 percent by 2030.[i] By 2050, it is expected that eight in ten people will be living in towns and cities, putting significant pressure on the ability of municipalities like Stellenbosch to provide adequate access to basic infrastructure and resources.

In preparing Stellenbosch for this growth, the Stellenbosch Network – in partnership with the Sustainability Institute and Department of Science & Innovation’s Regional Innovation Support Programme (RSIP) – has today announced the launch of its third annual #IdeasForChange Challenge.

This year’s competition seeks to uncover and support the development of innovative ideas, business models, and technology with the potential to improve the quality of life of citizens, lessen the social and environmental impact of rapid urban development and enhance the sustainability of local ecosystems on which Stellenbosch is dependent.

The Sustainability Institute’s Sam Hale says: “Globally, we are facing a host of complex problems, some of which include ecosystem degradation, climate change, inequality, food insecurity, and overconsumption of natural materials. These issues describe a majorly unequal, urbanised world that is dependent on depleting resources, with the list of resultant threats growing. These threats are highly significant for South Africa, facing some of the worst inequality in the world and an economy rooted in fossil fuels. The future of Stellenbosch needs to be shaped by this global and local context to become not only more resilient against unexpected change but active in contributing to a more equitable and generative development pathway for South Africa.”

To this end, Stellenbosch Network invites all persons living in Stellenbosch and its surroundings to submit their innovative ideas towards making Stellenbosch a more sustainable city. Entrants stand the chance to win their share of R30,000 in cash prizes and gain access to a Value Proposition Masterclass to help bring your idea to life.

Specifically, applications should present a solution to an existing problem that Stellenbosch faces, which may reflect a global or national challenge such as food security, energy and poverty. Innovative ideas will be awarded for being integrative and for cross-cutting problem areas.

Stellenbosch Network’s Operations Manager, Hanli Brink shares that, “The aim of this year’s #IdeasForChange Challenge is to stimulate Stellenbosch’s entrepreneurship and innovation culture to get people thinking about sustainable solutions that have the potential to become actual products to mitigate the effects of climate change. It’s about local people solving local problems. As a cross-sector and interdisciplinary membership organisation that brings people together from industry, government, society and academia, we can take the winning idea and use our connections to help it materialise and benefit those who need it most.”

The Challenge is open to anyone from Stellenbosch and surrounds aged 18 years and older.  Entries close on 8 July 2022. Submit your idea via

“We welcome creative and innovative ideas for ways to improve sustainability in Stellenbosch,” concludes Brink.

For more information, go to