Re-thinking South African education

UCT Upstarts invites students to redesign the education system in South Africa.

UCT Upstarts presents the 2016 social innovation theme "Re-educate Education", which plans to disrupt education as we know it. The 12-week social innovation programme is in its second year, offering students the opportunity to become social entrepreneurs.  

Upstarts is run by Super Stage and the University of Cape Town’s Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Vice-Chancellor's Office. Upstarts achieved great success in its first year when 12 student-led start-ups dealing with local problems were launched at the Idea Auction, raising over 110 000 Rand. 

“UCT Upstarts is exactly the kind of initiative that the university is proud to support”, says UCT Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price. “It is encouraging to see the kind of impact that this initiative has had… and we are looking forward to an even bigger and better project this year.”

The programme carefully selected 45 proactive students from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. The design process is human-centred, growing from ideas into prototypes, and ultimately to testing, iterating and pitching for support. 

This year’s "Re-educate Education" theme asks students to reimagine and re-humanise education in South Africa with their ideas.

Gina Levy, a social entrepreneur, is the founder of Upstarts and Super Stage. She said the platform allows students to contribute to the change they wish to see around them.

“We believe socially impactful business ideas are the most powerful form of protest. And because opportunity is our currency, we’ve created a life-changing platform that gives students the chance to effect positive change on our continent,” said Levy.

Students interact with and learn from the programme’s coaches, including social entrepreneurs and industry leaders such as the founder of Gidon Novick, the creator of Failure Club Philip Kiracofe and trend specialist John Sanei.  

Prototyping notes for UCT Upstarts
UCT Upstarts students on a bus ride with trend specialist John Sanei.