University Pretoria

UP is a Higher Education Institution with a mission of teaching, learning, and conducting research as stipulated in the Higher Education Act No 101 of 1997.


The Inter-University Innovation Challenge is aimed to develop highly competent and confident student entrepreneurs, who have the capacity to conceive, and implement innovative solutions that can solve service delivery challenges experienced and ultimately improve the quality of life of the residents of South Africa and beyond. Secondly, the programme aims to build a vibrant, and competitive entrepreneurship community in Tshwane.

The main objectives of the Inter-University Innovation Challenge are:

  • To build a pipeline of entrepreneurs and innovators
  • To create a platform for student entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative ideas
  • To identify service delivery focused innovations that can be upscaled and commercialised
  • To provide support (financial and non-financial) to student entrepreneurs

we are, therefore, seeking strong technical solutions from registered university students and invite submissions.

Through consultation with our partners, the focus areas of particular interest this year include:

  1. Waste (CleanTech)
  2. Finance (Revenue generation/collection)
  3. Clean transport/mobility
  4. Energy                                                                                                                                                    



  • The City of Tshwane Waste Management Division is pursuing more sustainable models of operation in which dependency on landfilling is reduced and energy generation, recycling, composting, reuse and reduction of recyclable material are encouraged. Informal waste recyclers or pickers play a key role in waste management by recycling solid waste. However, they are vulnerable to road accidents, need to travel long distances, are not always viewed positively by communities and other entities in the waste value chain, and do not have sustainable incomes.


  • Previous models that have been established to formalise informal recycling have not been effective.
  • The Waste Management Division would like students to propose ideas incorporating one or more of:
  • Social, business or legal models that can support formalisation of informal waste recyclers in the waste management value chain.
  • New approaches to waste collection and storage for informal waste recyclers.
  • Ways to reduce the rate of accidents on roads and for promoting health and safety.
  • Use of technology for reducing waste recycler travel times and distances.
  • Opportunities to pursue the systematic conversion towards a circular economy.


  • Challenges

    • The City of Tshwane’s Revenue Management Division would like to improve the sustainability of cash flow in the City by inviting students to propose innovative approaches for encouraging homeowners and renters in residential areas to pay for water services and property rates on a regular basis.


    • The City has implemented a number of measures to improve the quality of services and encourage wider and more consistent payment of municipal accounts. This has included improving the accuracy of billing and increasing the number of online and physical payment options. However, to expand the payment of municipal accounts on a wider scale, we would like students to propose ideas/ solutions for engaging residents on the payment of rates and water services in particular, such as through: creative billing and loyalty approaches, alternative billing or revenue collection financial models and novel payment channels or technologies. See Attached Document for additional information.



  • South Africa is a country that is in urgent need of a workable and sustainable public transport
    network. There are a number of activities happening in the public transport space, however,
    most of it is fragmented and not well co-ordinated. The City of Tshwane seeks innovative solutions to assist with addressing the challenges related to efficient public transportation services in partnership with independent service providers (i.e. bus and taxi industry). The City is looking for solutions on how the minibus taxi industry can be optimized as the mode of transport along roads from the north leading to the CBD (R80, Hornsnek, Paul Kruger) the barrier being Magaliesburg mountain.


  • Practical innovative strategies directed at the efficiency of the current taxi
    operations. Different ways of including private entities in the public transport sector
  • Ideas around the financial provision on road and transport interventions directed to addressing relevant needs (what the communities really need)
  • Innovative ways on how to communicate real-time information to commuters in order to optimise travel time in case of obstructions
  • An innovative method to control the supply of taxi fleet within the operated routes



  • The City of Tshwane’s Electricity Division would like students to propose innovative ideas/ solutions to address either: (1) theft of overhead and underground copper cables which results in power outages and significant replacement costs for the municipality; or (2) tampering with or bypassing of electricity meters or unauthorised/illegal connections to the electricity network which means that some residents and are not paying for services and creating safety issues in their communities.


  • The City has implemented several electronic and IoT‐based approaches for detecting cable theft and meter tampering and runs regular public awareness campaigns to encourage residents to report illegal and corrupt activities. However, these initiatives have only had partial success so we are interested in new ways of improving the identification of incidents and addressing underlying issues driving cable theft and illegal connections, such as low‐value alternatives to copper conductors, creative applications of IoT and analytics‐based approaches, community‐led education programmes and better management of technicians. See Attached Document for additional information.


The University Innovation Challenge is a collaboration between the City of Tshwane (CoT), The Innovation Hub (TIH), Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), University of South Africa (UNISA), University of Pretoria (UP), Tuksnovation Universities of South Africa (USaf), Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and Eskom. This collaborative programme serves as a key feature to remaking Tshwane as “Africa’s Innovation Capital”.

The closing date for applications to join the training is 30 April 2020.


The 12 winners will share seed funding of approximately R1.2 million, followed by incubation, and piloting.

The finals winners will be announced at a gala event before the end of June 2020. 

The prizes package will include:

  • Incubation
  • Mentorship
  • Piloting

Prize allocation:

  • 1st Prize – R150 000.00
  • 2nd Prize – R100 000.00
  • 3rd Prize – R50 000.00


Challenge Opens
27 February 2020 | Apply Now

Challenge Closes: 30 June 2020

Inter-University innovation Challenge Competition is now Closed.

Activation Dates:

17 June 2020-Hatfield Campus (16:00-17:00)


Google meet link

Individual University Pitching Sessions

07 July 2020 - 31 July 2020

Innovation Bootcamps

17 August 2020 - 21 August 2020

Finalist Pitching
01 September 2020 - 04 September 2020

Inter-University Innovation Challenge Awards Ceremony
September 2020

Starts February 2021


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