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BYM summit to bring Africa's 100 brightest young minds together

Recognised as an official World Design Capital (WDC) Cape Town project, the 14th annual Brightest Young Minds (BYM) summit sponsored by Barclays Africa is playing host to 100 of Africa's most innovative 20 to 32 year olds in Johannesburg from 29 August till 2 September. This year's theme is Impact by Design.

Solving some of SA's most 'wicked problems'

WDC Cape Town CEO Alayne Reesberg will facilitate the event, showcasing the importance of design as a tool for social, cultural and economic development.

Reesberg says, "The 2014 BYM summit offers a very rich opportunity for new and innovative approaches to solving some of South Africa's most 'wicked problems'. The research shows us that the 20-somethings generation has the capability and energy to tackle some of these. I look forward to working with the top 100 young African leaders, and I am fully prepared to be amazed at the outcome of a week's work."

Creating change

Delegates were selected based on a demonstration of innovation, civic responsibility and leadership. All of the 100 delegates have initiated or are part of initiatives focused on creating change. Delegates have, among others, designed solar powered technologies, worked on genetically modifying microscopic worms to disinfect water, successfully lobbied for policy systems to support entrepreneurship, launched their own radio stations and designed revolutionary township schools.

Applications were opened to individuals living in any African country for the first time this year; though 95 per cent of the 2014 delegates are South African. The delegates have diverse ethnic and academic backgrounds. About 50 per cent of delegates are Black; 25 percent Coloured or Indian/Asian; and 25 per cent White. Delegates are entrepreneurs, doctors, students, lawyers, bankers, scientists, artists and more. Age ranges from 20 to 32 years with the average age of 24 years.

Delegates will hear from industry leaders on innovation, entrepreneurship and development. Speakers include Ketso Gordhan CEO PPC Cement, Jonathan Leibmann Founder of Arts on Main and Maboneng Developer, Mardia van der Walt-Kortsen Chairman T-Systems, Professor Arnold van Zyl Rector of Chemnitz Technical University in Germany and previously Vice President of Stellenbosch University, and Neil Jacobson Senior Partner of Future World International.

Delegates will also have the opportunity to learn about their leadership preferences using the results of their Insights Discovery profiles provided by BYM partner company Connemara. In addition, the delegates will form teams and design start-up like solutions to social, economic or cultural challenges.

BYM CEO Madelynne Wager says, "Young Africans everywhere are taking responsibility for improving their communities. BYM exists to identify these young people and take their initiatives and impact to the next level."

Brightest Young Minds is a South African NPC that has been identifying and mobilising Africa's most innovative young people for the benefit of their communities and countries for nearly 15 years.