Smart Young Mindz, a corporate social initiative programme of Blue IQ (BIQ) and the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG), officially launched its competition at Fred Norman High School in Ennerdale last week.
In partnership with the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) and its media partner and supporter of youth development, Sowetan, Smart Young Mindz (SYM) is a competition targeted at Grade 8, 9 and 10 pupils.
SYM aims to stimulate interest among learners in the fields of maths, science, technology and entrepreneurship by encouraging them to submit smart business ideas and motivates pupils to investigate problems, wants and needs in their communities and to generate ideas for commercially viable products or services.
The Blue IQ Smart Young Mindz team is currently on a road show involving 10 schools - but they hope to reach 100 participating schools throughout Gauteng.
The SYM offices have been flooded with entry forms since the competition closing date had been extended to the September 28.
Competition winners are due to be announced on October 26.
"This competition is an ideal opportunity for our learners and comes as a blessing in disguise," Don Haripersad of the GDE said last week.
Shonisani Muleya, the brainy funnyman affectionately known as DJ Shabba, is SYM's celebrity ambassador. He also has the responsibility of introducing pupils to the competition during the road shows.
"The fact that this competition is aligned to the curriculum provides an integrated approach to use knowledge, skills and values for problem solving in the subject of technology," he said.
Blue IQ chief executive Nomhle Canca said: "One of the Gauteng government's objectives [driven by Blue IQ] is to ensure the province has a good supply of appropriate human capital [as in highly qualified and skilled people], meaning that the focus of this challenge and competition [SYM] is on the youth.
"The programme helps to orientate and prepare youths for a 'smart' province and a knowledge-based economy."
Sowetan's special projects editor Victor Mecoamere said: "Sowetan, through its Nation Building Foundation, and its association with the Gauteng education department and BIQ, is indeed honoured to be associated with this initiative, which is aimed at promoting and enhancing meaningful youth development in the areas of mathematics, physical science, technology and entrepreneurship".
l The author is a media and public relations officer at Blue IQ, a multibillion-rand initiative of the Gauteng government to invest in economic infrastructure development in areas including tourism, technology, transport and manufacturing - most of which are located in Johannesburg, the province's capital and home of the provincial government, and legislature.
Sowetan, through the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation, supports Smart Young Mindz's objective to help demystify mathematics, physical science, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.