The Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA) has partnered with the 4IR-AquaTech Business Accelerator programme, which aims to capacitate young entrepreneurs with skills through a 6-month mentorship programme designed to identify, develop support, fund and upscale a new generation of 4IR enabled solutions to address the Eastern Cape Province’s pressing food-energy-water nexus challenges.
If one were to consider the challenges South Africa faces when it comes to water alone, the task is a mammoth one, considering water directly affects the country’s socio-economic development, but the challenge is exacerbated by the fact that water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource.
Based on current usage trends, South Africa is expected to face a water deficit of 17% by 2030, and this shortage will be worsened by climate change. Water in South Africa has moved from being a marginal input to a central enabler of food security, energy security as well as climate security.
Ensuring water, energy and food security is a responsibility for all.
The 4IR-AquaTech Business Accelerator programme has been developed by ICRD Group Holdings, an organisation that spearheads innovative entrepreneurship development programmes to help participants and alumni to become CEOs of their own successful businesses in the water and energy sector. Its mission is to accelerate youth and women participation in the emerging Green Economy (GE).
Lucky Litelu, Group Chief Executive for the ICRD Group, explains the importance of this EWSETA programme for entrepreneurs: “South Africa’s historical disparity has rendered it difficult for entrepreneurs from previously disadvantaged communities to participate effectively in the mainstream economy due to lack of technical know-how, development resources, adequate financing and access to sustainable markets.”
Twenty 4IR-AquaTech companies will be put through their paces on an intensive 6-month training, coaching and mentoring programme, that will also see these start-ups matched with cutting edge technologies and market access opportunities. An important element of the programme is the widely-tested ‘Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management’ capacity development tool in the water, sanitation and resource management sector, which will serve as a key resource during training sessions.
“EWSETA is excited to be leading a programme such as this one as we are mandated to drive entrepreneur and SMME development in the energy and water sectors given the critical role they pay in addressing energy and water challenges and driving economic growth,” comments Mpho Mookapele, CEO for the EWSETA.
“Furthermore, South Africa is rich with young minds that can drive innovative solutions for the challenges we face. Our role as EWSETA is to provide a platform for these young minds and ignite the passion of our innovators so that they become part of the much-needed solutions that will change the narrative of poverty and undignified state of living for many of our people.”