The Mission Network of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa (#cocreateSANL), in collaboration with the Craft and Design Institute (CDI), has launched the #cocreate Circular Design Challenge 2024.

The Challenge invites all passionate Cape Town innovators, businesses, non-profit organisations, and students to step forward with their ideas to address key circular design challenges, drive positive change, and build a future that protects our environment.

Eighty local innovators will be selected to participate in the programme, commencing in July; and in August eight finalists will be selected from the group to pitch for four seed funding awards of R15 000 each.

For more than a decade, the Netherlands, through its #cocreateSANL platform, has united diverse minds to exchange ideas and supported innovations for a sustainable future. Since 2018, the Netherlands Consulate General in Cape Town, together with the CDI, has hosted an annual series of impactful #cocreate events – centred on examining the power of design to tackle current socio-economic and environmental challenges.

The #cocreate Circular Design Challenge 2024 offers successful applicants the opportunity to:

* Learn about design thinking principles and methodologies.

* Learn about circular economy principles, standards and opportunities.

* Gain a fresh perspective on how to approach and solve problems.

* Develop teamwork skills, while gaining from experts in their fields of Circular Design.

* Network with other entrepreneurs and professionals who are as passionate about sustainability.

* If selected as a finalist in August, pitch for R15 000 in seed funding for their Circular Design innovation.

The Challenge is calling for innovators to apply in one of four streams:

* Fashion and Textiles: Sustainable sourcing.

* Consumer Education and Behavioural Change: Consumer education within your community through incentives.

* Organic Waste: Circular opportunities for organic waste streams.

* Repair and Re-use: Community-based circular economy practices.

Design thinking workshops will be hosted by the Hasso Plattner d-school Afrika at the University of Cape Town (UCT), and several local and international experts will drive workshops and mentorship within the four Circular Design focal areas.

Circular Design is the practice of creating durable, reusable, repairable and recyclable products and innovative services that promote and generate zero waste to support a circular economy. Designing new products, processes and services is of the utmost importance for a sustainable future of the planet.

“The Netherlands and South Africa share the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through circular economy solutions. During our 2023 #cocreate programme, we were inspired by the circular solutions already happening. The insights gained from our incredible panel of experts highlighted the importance of creating an enabling environment to support circular economy goals. We hope the 2024 Challenge will energize young innovators to participate and develop groundbreaking circular design solutions,” says Hélène Rekkers, consul-general of the Netherlands in Cape Town.

Erica Elk, CEO of the CDI, adds: “We cannot recycle our way out of this crisis, we need to invent solutions that eliminate and minimise our need for more materials and products – and circulate what we have. We are seeking ideas that can achieve a positive impact on our local communities and surroundings while boosting the economy.”
Applications are open until 30 June 2024; and 20 participants will be selected for each stream. Apply here: