Twenty-five young entrepreneurs have been chosen from a field of 100 to go to the next round of Cape Town’s YouthStartCT entrepreneurship challenge.

YouthStart was launched in March to encourage young people from between the ages of 18 and 35 years to submit their existing businesses which currently create employment opportunities for youth, or a business idea which plans to include employment opportunities for young people.

Contestants were whittled down to 100 earlier this month and last Saturday, the top 50 contestants each had to pitch their business or business idea to a panel of adjudicators who selected the top 25.

The judging panel comprised representatives from the Raymond Ackerman Academy at the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, ABSA, the Small Enterprise Development Agency, and the City.

I don’t envy the judging panel because there are some brilliant and very diverse business ideas being showcased this year. From hair and beauty salons, to fresh produce, to apps and other tech solutions designed to make life easier, I can’t wait to see what happens next,’ said the City’s MMC for Safety and Security and Social Services, JP Smith.

This weekend, the 25 will again compete for the top 15 spots, with finalists to be announced on Monday 29th May. The next milestone in the #YouthStartCT 2017 journey will be the final pitch on 10 June 2017, after which the top three entrepreneurs will be unveiled at the awards ceremony to coincide with Youth Day.

“These young people are ready to roll up their sleeves and put in the hard work necessary to get their businesses off the ground, but everyone can do with a little stepping stone and hopefully #YouthStartCT is a step in the right direction. Offering these stepping stones is in line with our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan which prioritises economic inclusion whereby the City and residents work together to create economic opportunities,” said Smith.