Here are some frequently asked questions with answers.
Q. What does “innovation” mean?
A. Innovation is new, different, or improved ways of solving a problem. You don’t have to invent something completely new, but to innovate there needs to be some improvement on what has been done before that can be implemented in the real world.
Q. Does it have to be a physical, technical product?
A. No. Innovation can be a technical product, but it can also be digital product, a service to your community, a business, an organization or a movement.
Q. What is a prototype?
A. A prototype is a first shot at your innovation. You create something that shows how your future final product might work so that you can test it out and improve on it. It does not need to be a physical prototype.
Q. Who is a supervisor? What does a supervisor do?
A. The team supervisor is an adult from the team’s school or community who is responsible for the team in terms of communications and finances. The supervisor’s time commitment is not significant. Mentors are provided to guide the teams as well.
Q. What do I do if I do not have an email?
A. You can ask a parent or teacher to email your application to “firstname.lastname@example.org” for you, or you can submit the application online.
Q. Can I really do this?
A. An innovator is someone who comes up with new ideas and has the willingness to take risks to try them out. Anyone who is motivated to solve a community problem and can think up new ideas and test them can be an innovator!
Q. What kind of problem could I solve?
A. Try to find a problem that affects you or your community directly. This could be where you live or at school. Try to find a problem where you have an opportunity to make a change versus something that requires government intervention.
Q. What does a winning application need?
A. A winning application has a well thought out challenge that it is addressing. This needs to be something specific. Your solution needs to address the problem directly in an improved and fulfill a relevant community need in an improved way. If you can show that you’ve already started with your idea by doing research and interviews, or experimenting with what you have that goes a long way!
Q. Is it worthwhile applying to Innovate the Cape?
A. The Innovate the Cape team wants young people creating solutions in their communities. We want to help you even if you don’t make it to the next round. The judges will provide all applicants with feedback. There are up to 8 finalist group positions available, so there are good chances of making it into the first round.
Q. Is it worthwhile taking part in Innovate the Cape?
A. Innovate the Cape can be a life-changing experience for participants. You will learn what it takes to make real-life solutions, attend events in cool new locations around Cape Town, meet like-minded people, make new friends and be exposed to many further opportunities. Many of our finalists have travelled to events overseas.
Q. What if I don’t have transport to attend events?
A. Not to worry, we provide all participants with transport stipends if needed.
Q. Will I be able to do Innovate the Cape and keep up with my schoolwork?
A. Most participants find that working on their projects helps them with their school work by showing how what they learn applies to the real world. It is not a huge time commitment. There are 5 required events that are all on Saturdays over a 10 week period.
Q. Can I find other sponsors besides the Innovate the Cape funding?
A. Yes, we encourage you to get as much support as possible from your community to make your idea a reality.
Q. What happens after the finalist round?
A. Several teams will receive further funding and we encourage all teams to continue with their projects. The overall winners will receive a further 6 months of mentorship.