25 February 2021

Applications for the NextGen Campus Innovation Challenge Zambia now open!

Are you a Zambian college or University student with sustainable and innovative idea that could impact the community? Do you want to take your ideas to the next level and work towards establishing a youth-led business?

The “Next Generation Campus Innovation Challenge” is a programme targeted at college and university students, and it aims to prepare the next generation of thinkers with skills for employability and impart them the skills to ideate and develop their own ventures. This challenge is run as an activity under the Ye! Chapter Zambia, led by Jacaranda Hub and the Ye! Ambassador for Zambia Gilbert Mwale, and supported by the International Trade Centre’s Ye! Community Team.

Read more about the NextGen Campus Innovation Challenge below and apply via the link until 9 April.


Zambia, like most African countries, has over 60% of its population comprising young people with a very scarce job market to accommodate them, many of whom are soon to graduate and to seek employment. The future of jobs and financial independence will rely hugely on the next generation of thinkers and actors mostly represented by the youth. As ecosystem actors, Jacaranda Hub and the International Trade Centre see it as their task to continue challenging the system, policies, programs and norms in order to continually develop solutions. We believe ideas that change the world can come from anywhere and universities represent that place where we can tap into some of the greatest minds with the great potential who come from all over Zambia.

The NextGen Challenge

The NextGen Innovation Challenge focuses on identifying opportunities for innovation and mentoring young innovators and entrepreneurs through ideation, validation and scaling up of new products and services that benefit end users and build successful startup companies. Students will submit and develop innovative solutions to problems affecting Zambia’s communities, and generate social impact across seven thematic areas:

Smart Energy

  • Solutions that exploit technology for energy efficiency whilst promoting eco-friendly and cost effective innovations that will benefit the rural community.

Responsible Consumption and Production

  • Solutions that will help rural residents create responsible consuming systems, increasing resource efficiency and promoting sustainable lifestyles.
  • Solutions also that tackle Environmental degradation.
  • Solutions that promote poverty alleviation whilst transitioning towards low-carbon and green economies.

Smart Agriculture

  • Solutions that embrace modern day technology in agriculture so as to promote end to end value addition in modern and sustainable agriculture.
  • Solutions that advocate for smart farming methods in agro processing and various agricultural techniques to improve crop production.
  • Solutions that can improve market access and funding for enhanced agriculture.

Content and Digital Creation

  • Visual content creation on socio-economic development.
  • Ideas that exploit digital media as a way to help businesses gain brand visibility using digital media.

Smart Health

  • Solutions that embrace modern technology in service delivery in the Health Sector. Solutions that fit this include those that lead to better diagnostic tools, better treatment for patients, and devices that generally improve the quality of life for anyone and everyone.


  • Financial Inclusion
  • Solutions that provide the low-income groups, would be users, marginalized and unbanked with tools to manage their finances and create solutions that provide access to finance services.
  • Solutions that are innovating in insurance, payments and lending for the unbanked farmers.

Smart Housing

  • Solutions that explore technology to build modern structures that utilize local natural resources aimed at sustainable development and improved way of life. The challenge invites innovations that address smart and affordable housing requirements for off grid occupants.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants need to fulfil the following criteria: 

  • Be youth under 35 years of age
  • Signed up as a member of the Ye! Community
  • Be a Zambian national from one of the following provinces:
    • Central
    • Copperbelt
    • Lusaka
    • Muchinga
    • Southern
  • Be a student enrolled in university or college
  • Ideally form a team with other students who fulfill the same criteria.
    • We want to encourage collaboration and research has shown that ideas are most successfully converted into businesses if you work with a strong team. 

If these criteria do not apply to you, do not be alarmed! We want to make the Ye! Community in Zambia as inclusive as possible. Non-students and youth entrepreneurs will be able to work on the challenge as mentors and collaborators. On top of this, we are in the process of shaping several concrete activities and programmes for you to get involved and to get support for your business. Reach out to us via youthandtrade@intracen.org and stay tuned via our channels.

Secondly, even if you are not a student yourself, we are sure that you have many students in your network who would be excited to join the challenge! We encourage you to share this opportunity with them. 

Implementation Process & Timeline

Check out the implementation process of the challenge below to see how applicants will benefit and how successful ideas will be converted into operational businesses with access to funding:


Submit YOUR ideas and apply

Apply here: NextGen Challenge -Jacaranda Hub & Ye! Community (google.com)

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Join the Ye! Chapter Zambia conversation on WhatsApp

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us at youthandtrade@intracen.org. 

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