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3M, HIP2B² on the lookout for high school innovators

It’s never too early to start innovating. And if you’re a South African high school student in grade 9 or 10 the rewards for doing so could potentially be very big. And we’re not just talking about the thrill of doing something no one else has done before either. Just take a look at what’s on offer for the winners of the 2015 HIP2B² 3M Innovation Challenge.

The competition, run by multinational technology company 3M and non-profit youth organisation HIP2B², is open to grade 9 and 10 learners and tasks them with finding innovative solutions to everyday problems they face.

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This year, the competition them is “Science. Applied to life” to celebrate 3M’s new global branding.

According to the competition organisers, those entrants who make it to the final round will benefit from exposure to 3M’s wealth of intellectual and product resources, in support of their quest to become South Africa’s Top Young Innovator 2015.

“The previous Challenges were a great success and made a significant impact on those learners who participated,” said Rene Dove, 3M Corporate Brand & Communication and Strategic Planning Manager. “Science, is just science, until you make it improve the world. Learners are often overlooked by adults when it comes to solving real-life problems. We want to see the project ultimately feeding the pipeline of scarce skills in the fields of engineering and technology and changing perceptions of these fields. The ideas of young people should be encouraged, not ignored – like the excellent idea we had from the winning team in 2014.”

In response to the high air pollution produced by Richards Bay’s industry, Sulakhe Nhassengo and Christiaan De Jager, from Durban High School in KwaZulu-Natal, won the 2014 challenge with their idea of a solar-powered Oxygen Manufacturing Apparatus (O.M.A.). The O.M.A transforms diatomic gasses, most notably CO2, into harmless gas and fuels through electrolysis for a more sustainable environmental footprint.

The closing date for entries is 14 September 2015. Two finalists per province will be selected by a judging panel of representatives from HIP2B2, 3M and other industry experts with a science or technical background.

During October, the winning regional finalists from all three provinces will experience an eye-opening workshop of career and personal development with industry specialists and mentors at 3M Headquarters in Johannesburg, culminating with a presentation of their conceived innovations to a judging panel.

Requests for more information and entries can be emailed here.

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