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3M Sticking With HIP2B² in Youth Innovation Challenge

April 2012

HIP2B², the youth organization founded to promote the study of maths, science and technology-related subjects to develop entrepreneurial skills and analytical thinking, has brought on innovative multinational technology company 3M as a valued partner for the inaugural HIP2B² 3M Innovation Challenge.

10th Grade students from Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban will compete for the coveted title of “South Africa’s Top Young Innovators” in a challenge focussed on inspiring innovation in everyday life. The Challenge kicks off with an Awareness Campaign reaching quintile 1, 2 and 3 schools1 from each of the three participating cities, followed by an extreme fun and entertaining educational Info for Innovators Event in Cape Town on 14 May; Durban on 16 May; and Johannesburg on 21 May.

Students who have participated in the Information Events are then invited to enter, in teams of two, their own innovation. For the innovation they are required to identify a real problem that affects them, their family or community – ranging from how to simplify everyday chores to ways on how to stay safe -- and propose a solution using the application of science and maths. The students will be inspired by 3M innovations that improve every life and products that enhance every home. They will be exposed to the thinking that makes 3M a leader in innovation and they will be encouraged to view the way an idea progresses to market.

From their submissions, five finalist teams will be selected by a judging panel of representatives from HIP2B2, 3M and other industry experts with a science or technical background. Leading up to the final round, the finalists will have the opportunity to job shadow within industry during the September school holidays and to present their projects and prototypes to a mentor for input and guidance. Thereafter they will return to 3M South Africa’s Headquarters in Johannesburg on 18 October for the Innovation Challenge Final, where judges will award one team with the prestigious title.

3M is the science-based company behind a plethora of innovations, which permeate every industry. Internationally renowned as the creators of brands such as Post-it® Notes, Scotch® Tape, and Scotchgard™, 3M has also developed everything from safer surgical drapes to innovative air filtration systems and pocket projectors. “At 3M, we believe that innovation makes progress possible, and that in order for the creative out-of-the-box thinking that results in great inventions to continue, we need to actively encourage youngsters to expand their minds,” said Serita Esselaar, 3M Manager Corporate Services. “The need for a skilled technology workforce is particularly great in South Africa, and can only be addressed through creating a culture of intellectual curiosity.”

“We are closely aligned with HIP2B²’s inspirational quest to awaken the innovator in South African students through changing teen’s perceptions about maths and science and encouraging them to continue with these studies to matric and beyond.” Esselaar continued, “We are thrilled to be partnering with them for this Challenge, with its emphasis on local problem-solving, which gives effect to 3M’s ethos of Community Citizenship.” Students will also be taught about science and engineering related careers at a large organization like 3M, encouraging them to take studies towards these professions. “We want to see the project ultimately feeding the pipeline of scarce skills in engineering and technology and change perceptions of these fields.

Backed by the Department of Education in each participating province, this Challenge is the brainchild of HIP2B². Since 2002, the non-profit youth organization has built a brand that works to stimulate young minds and interest them in science, maths, technology and entrepreneurship.

HIP2B² reaches a national audience of over 1.7 m high school students through an interactive platform of touch points, including its award-winning magazine, website, digital radio station, Facebook, MXit and Champion programme.

The HIP2B² Champion programme directly harnesses the power of youth-to-youth communication. The selected Champions represent HIP2B² within their communities and beyond -- peer-to-peer -- using their own youthful enthusiasm and passion to inspire other learners to invest time in their maths and science studies while at school. They are integrally involved in all of the brand’s touchpoints: writing for the magazine, DJ’ing on the radio station, and hosting the pre-Challenge events to name just a few.

According to HIP2B² General Manager Cathryn Treasure, the ultimate aim of HIP2B² is to stimulate young minds in order to help grow a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, which will better ensure South Africa’s future economic prosperity.

“The HIP2B² 3M Innovation Challenge is the perfect opportunity for HIP2B² to work alongside our country’s youth and inspire them to realise that with the application of maths and science, they can make a positive contribution and difference in their own communities,” says Treasure. “With this Challenge, we hope to show South Africa that amongst our youth there are ideas brewing that can bring about great change, and that all you need is a healthy curiosity, a positive attitude and a good grounding in maths, sciences and technology-related subjects to lay the foundations for an exciting and fulfilling career, and a great life.”