The department will provide the individuals with business management skills that will help grown their green business. 

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) has urged youth entrepreneurs who own green businesses to send the department their innovative proposals. The challenge was relaunched to allow more young entrepreneurs to tap in with their ideas that will combat climate change. 

South Africa is faced with severe water shortages. A report by the Global Change Institute (GCI) at Wits University found that taps in Gauteng may run dry in the 2030’s or 2040’s if climate change is not tackled soon. According to the Department of water and sanitation, water levels in the Gauteng province continue to drop and the DFFE reported that South Africa has been experiencing serious drought since 2015. 

The Driving Force for Change II was created by the DFFE and supported by Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), a United Nations environmental non-profit. The challenge aims to tackle the high unemployment rate and uplift the green economy.  

The DFFE’s spokesperson Albi Modise, told Wits Vuvuzela the challenge encouraged youth to send through innovative proposals on how to combat climate change. 

“The intention is to influence the transition towards low carbon business enterprise development who are small and medium sized enterprise.” Modise told Wits Vuvuzela. In celebration of women’s month, “the second call for the challenge aims to encourage applications from women and further, people with disabilities to apply,” Modise added. 

Minister of DFFE, Barbara Creecy, launched the challenge on the 16th of June 2020, in celebration of the youth month.  

The challenge allows applicants who own green business that are registered and have been operating for between one  and 34 months. Winners will receive technical support and be equipped with technical skills. 

Creecy said in a statement that she “urges the youth to be the driving force for change, given their inherent ability to make the change and help South Africa to transition to a low carbon and inclusive economy.”  

The challenge is segmented into three categories: Climate Mitigation, Climate Adaptation and Cross Cutting. Each category will have one winner and 3 runners-up, which will see a total of 18 beneficiaries for this year’s challenge. 

FEATURED IMAGE: A student going through the Environmental department. Photo: Alfonso Nqunjana