Elevate Trust - Creating Platforms for Innovation
The social enterprise incubator – Elevate Trust was founded by Mandela Washington Fellowship alumni, Sicelo Dube in 2016.
“Elevate Trust was born out of Sicelo Dude, the Stem Lady’s passion to see young entrepreneurs’ ideas developed into market ready products” – explains Tawanda Njini, a project manager at Elevate Trust.
Tawanda soon became part of the small team which set out to drive the vision of the organization.
The vision of Elevate Trust is on youth leadership development and capacity building for enterprise development with a focus on education, health, environment and consultancy. Elevate Trust runs The Innovators Hub Club, StemFem network and a HighTech Incubator lab. The team, brings together the capacity building programs for innovators as well as next generation skills development.
“Our dream is to identify talent, nurture it and then establish an enterprise hence the tagline: Inspire, Innovate, Enterprise”, – says Tawanda.
What happens when you put student innovators, captains of industry and academia in one room?
Elevate Trust this year hosted the inaugural Student Start-Up Summit (SSUS) with the aim of creating a platform for student innovators to develop their projects into market ready products. The SSUS was a huge success, and attracted 332 high school students and 98 tertiary students from various institutions.
“We are establishing Innovators Hub Clubs in high schools and tertiary institutions. At the moment we have a presence in half of the tertiary institutions in the country and we are further developing this in order to positively impact the start-up culture in our institutions”, – adds Tawanda.
Elevate Trust also aims to encourage more women and girls to take up careers in STEM and runs the STEMFAM network. This is a mentorship network linking established women in STEM with young girls who show in interest in careers in STEM.
“We launched the STEMFAM network last year and we are still trying to identify stakeholder with whom we share the same vision,” – shares Tawanda.
The future plans of Elevate Trust
The team would like to establish business incubator spaces, that will be part of the Innovators Hub Clubs and the Student Start Up Summit. Their main aim is to be able to fully see ideas through all the stages of business development – from idea to market.
“Many people have criticized our team’s youthfulness, since we all range from the ages of 21-33. I think this is the one thing that makes Elevate Trust a unique organization, with an energetic team that is bursting with positive energy,” -concludes Tawanda.