Top 10 CEDA/DBSA University Challenge finalists unveiled


This year’s Top 10 finalists in the CEDA/DBSA University Challenge have finally been revealed. The finalists are currently presenting their proposals before a panel of three judges; economist Sennye Obuseng, former Bifm CEO & now businesswoman, Tiny Kgatlwane and Urban Soul founder Molefi Nkwete. The winner of the P200k grand prize will be unveiled at a gala dinner on November 22. The Challenge offers an additional P50,000 for a female winner. 

ceda-logoThe aim of the University Challenge is to inculcate a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in Botswana’s youth. The idea is for contestants to submit proposals that offer implementable solutions that address problems faced by Batswana; as well as proposals that focus on the adoption of new and emerging technologies.  Their proposals must be practical, market-oriented and must also strengthen Botswana’s innovation ecosystems. The CEDA website says by reaching the Top 10, the finalists have “cemented themselves as potential high calibre employees and investment opportunities”. 

This year, the Agency took the University Challenge to not only the student population in the participating institutions but also the general public. The University Challenge Secretariat developed a marketing campaign that ensured that more Batswana were sensitised on the competition and how it can change their lives.

The University Challenge has retained the theme of addressing issues of Botswana Unemployment with closer focus on analysing the local employment practices in comparison to the regional and global trends as well as deducing a practical localised, viable, and sustainable solution/proposal to address the employment levels.

A look at 4 of the Top 10 Finalists…


Zimele Gwebu (22) – 4th-year Mechatronics Engineering student at BIUST. Zwele says drowning is the third leading cause of human deaths worldwide, largely among children. 

To save lives, he wants to manufacture a cheaper, smarter, smaller, compact and user-friendly version of the life jacket in the form of a life band. 

Parts of the device, like the silicon casing, can be manufactured locally as silicon is sourced from sand. Other components will need to be imported. Zwele believes his idea is marketable and has great potential for export. BIUST is assisting him to patent the device.


Emmanuel Pax Makhura (22) – BSc Chemical Engineering student at BIUST. Emmanuel’s project is on the production of biogas through the anaerobic digestion of organic waste( food, cow dung, crop residue) to generate electricity, fuel and organic fertilisers. 

The purpose of the project is to promote the sustainable production of renewable energy, eradicate energy shortages, create employment and help diversify the economy. 

The project will also alleviate poverty, as the plant will use waste bought from individuals who will supply the plant. The plant will offer environmental benefits, promote agriculture, empower women & children and promote public-private partnerships.


Tshepiso Sharon Dabutha (22) – 4th-year Jewellery Management & Design student at Botho University. Her project focuses on the farming of fish and vegetables through aquaponics. 

Tshepiso believes her project will promote food security, create employment and help Botswana cut back on the importation of fish and vegetables. Aquaponics allows for the farming of fish and vegetables while using the same water, thereby reducing water usage.


Kagiso Jenamo (23) – 4th-year BSc Computing student at Botho University. Kagiso’s project aims to effectively convert organic energy into heat and electricity. 

His idea is founded on the fact that Botswana imports all of its gas and 40% of its electricity. He proposes to set up a commercial biomethane plant that will cost around P390 000 to set up. Through the plant, Kagiso will extract methane gas from organic waste, which is readily available in local landfills.

The 2017 University Challenge was won by Lebogang Eugene Pule of Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) who walked away with the grand prize of P200,000. 

Full list of all 10 finalists –  CEDA University Challenge Finalists.png

Reference: Botswana Government Facebook page,
Image sources: CEDA

1 year ago

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