General : Brightest Young Minds

By: Brightest Young Minds  11-11-2011

The opening function of the 2010 BYM summit

From 4 – 9 July 2011 in Johannesburg, BYM will host 100 of the country’s most passionate and brilliant change agents at its annual summit. With the theme “A Climate for change” the summit invites vigorous discussion on pertinent issues such as climate change, poverty, entrepreneurship and the climate for leadership change, innovation and problem-solving.

The scene is thus set for what will undoubtedly be a week of intense discussion and debate; delegates will have the opportunity to engage themselves, their peers and the speakers in addressing some of the obstacles that our society faces today.

The week-long summit culminates in a glamorous formal gala dinner. With a twist. Delegates, after having spent the week in discussion and debate, will present the projects they envision and have worked on with each other, at the gala dinner.

The BYM Summit Organising Committee is looking forward to hosting these young change agents in Johannesburg!

BYM Summit 2011
“A Climate for Change”
Johannesburg, 4-9 July 2011

May you live in interesting times…

Are you living in interesting times? Please take a moment to visit our website (, to update your contact and personal details, if you have not yet done so. BYM is aiming to involve alumni in more of its news and activities as we are in the process of establishing an online news and opportunity-sharing platform. We will also be sending out newsletters to our alumni at regular intervals and need your updated details, if you have not already sent this through.

We would like to invite you to share in our interesting times. Not only did 2010 see us celebrating ten years of engaging the hearts and minds of passionate and brilliant young leaders, or being one of the leadership partners in the 2010 MTN Business Leading CEO Council, but in 2011 we’ll build on the lessons and experiences of the past: hosting the annual summit between 4-9 July for South Africa’s Brightest Young Minds. Please encourage young people who you know has the potential to be a future Banana, to apply for this year’s summit before 15 April.

South Africa is in need of inspirational change agents. There is power in being young, gutsy and bright.

We also don’t operate in isolation. Forming part of the bigger continent, we need to start looking after our environment. Applying technology, entrepreneurship, social skills and environmental awareness, we can become the change we want to see.

Having been a delegate at one of our summits, you know exactly the type of individuals we seek. Now, as part of the working world, you are ideally placed to identify young and inspiring change agents. We thus ask you to encourage any such individuals to make use of this opportunity and apply for the 2011 BYM summit by visiting

What we ask of our applicants:

Are YOU ready to step up and make a difference?

-          Do you have the vision, business savvy and team spirit to engage with fellow leaders?

-          Are you passionate about our continent and its people?

-          Do you know you’ve got the power to work at a better future for our country, environment and economic position?

If you’ve got what it takes, apply for the Brightest Young Minds Summit 2011 and Join 99 other inspirational young leaders for a summit that will change your life.

Brightest Young Minds is an incubator for social entrepreneurship.

This is achieved through developing young leaders and equipping them to affect social change wherever they are:

Brightest Young Minds seeks to inspire, develop, train young people through several initiatives. Of these, the annual Brightest Young Minds summit is our flagship project. Other spaces created for fresh dialogue throughout the year are the Think Tanks, and Playshops.

Ranked by The Sunday Times as the top event on the business calendar for five consecutive years, the 2010 MTN Business Leading CEO Council is a unique annual event where South Africa’s top businessmen and women unite to discuss leadership issues and to mentor those who will succeed them.

Brightest Young Minds is proud to have been one of the Leadership Partners of The Chosen in 2010 – an accomplishment which renders us not only proud in regard of our humble beginnings, but also mindful of our commitment to developing young leaders.

The four-day Initiative featured seminars, workshops and debates where 24 of today’s top leaders helped to mould 24 Protégés – those who are the leaders of tomorrow. The Protégés were handpicked from the delegates who were chosen to attend last year’s Brightest Young Minds summit.

This event was held from 29 October – 1 November, ending off BYM commitments in 2010 on a very high note.

Since inception in 2000 until 2007, the organisation was a student society based at Stellenbosch University with its main focus to organise the annual BYM summit. The traditional goal of the summit was: “To provide a platform that showcases the Brightest Young Minds’ potential and fast track their development for the benefit of society”.

In no way endangering this crucial goal, BYM took stock between 2007 and 2008, re-evaluating and revising its mission as well as its strategic focus. No summit took place in 2008, but Playshops were hosted to engage with our alumni on topical issues of the time. Come 2009, a renewed BYM aimed to serve as greater catalyst for positive social change – an aim that was reaffirmed by the calibre of our bright, innovative and eager delegates of 2009 and 2010.

In 2010, Brightest Young Minds (BYM) not only celebrated its decennary, but also successfully hosted its second annual summit, after restructuring, with its new mission and strategic focus: “Channelling the hearts and minds of young people into initiatives that can affect societal improvement”

BYM today proudly states that it is a youth driven, non-profit organisation that aims to channel the hearts and minds of young people into initiatives that have a positive societal impact. BYM believes in providing a platform for talented young leaders to maximise change from where they are and with the resources at their disposal. BYM seeks to achieve its goals through an annual summit, a range of projects and advocacy activities.

BYM has proven that it can attract and engage the brightest and most passionate youth leaders in the country, contribute to their development and play an instrumental role in creating value added business and social projects. Giving credence to the BYM commitment to excellence and being a bridge-builder between young leaders in a South Africa still marred with social, political and economic gaps, some of the initiatives that have developed out of BYM include the Tertiary School in Business Administration (TSiBA), Project Personera, the Young Women in Finance conference and BYM Australia (which launched projects such as Bi-Polar Express).

BYM prides itself on the successes of its alumni. To this end, we would like to encourage all our alumni to inform and motivate young and inspiring individuals to apply for the 2011 BYM Summit, applications of which are open now.

Today marks a week since the first day of Summit 2010, and what an amazing week it’s been!

With presentations by Alayne Reesberg, Kobus Meijering, Dr Vincent Maphai, and others, a surprise visit by Tito Mboweni, an interactive land art session with Strijdom van der Merwe, evening events at Moyo (Spier) and Amazink (Khayamandi), conferencing at STIAS (Stellenbosch), and a glamorous Gala Dinner at Val de Vie, Wine and Polo Estate, Summit 2010 was all set to be a mindblowing event! What truly made it a success was the delegates, who came with eagerness, innovative ideas, passion, inspiration and a heart for making a difference in South Africa.

And the BYM team weren’t the only ones who thought this: We were privileged to have Max du Preez as one of our speakers this year, who was so inspired by the delegates that he proceeded to mention us in yesterday morning’s column in Die Beeld:

Ek het vandeesweek by ’n byeenkoms van ’n groep met die naam Brightest Young Minds gepraat. Dit het amper gevoel of ek die Nuwe Jerusalem gesien het: skerp, bevryde, krities denkende jong mense uit alle groepe in die land wat vol selfvertroue en met groot geesdrif na die toekoms kyk. Ek het gewens die ANC leiers en die wit verstoktes kon net ’n halfuur in dié jong mense se teenwoordigheid deurbring.

(translation) I spoke this week at the meeting of a group called Brightest Young Minds. It almost felt as though I was seeing the New Jerusalem: sharp, open-minded, critically thinking young people out of all the groups in the country who were looking at the future, full of self-confidence and great energy. I wished that the ANC leaders and the white conservatives could spend just one half-hour in these young people’s presence.

Go, Bananas, Go!

In line with its belief that young people have the power to bring about change, the day-to-day organising of Brightest Young Minds’ activity has always been implemented by students. This year’s committee consists of 11 Stellenbosch University students, undergrad and post-grad, and from a diversity of backgrounds and fields.

Introducing the Brightest Young Minds Summit Organizing Committee 2010!

Due to our partnership with ‘The Chosen’, 2010 MTN Business Leading CEO Council, the application deadline has now been extended to 22 July 2010!

‘The Chosen’, 2010 MTN Business Leading CEO Council is a unique annual event where South Africa’s top businessmen and women unite to discuss leadership issues and to mentor those who will succeed them. The four-day Initiative features seminars, workshops and debates where 24 of today’s top leaders will help to mould 24 Protégés – those who are the leaders of tomorrow. The Protégés will be handpicked from the delegates who are chosen to attend this year’s Brightest Young Minds summit.

A response to Business Day column, ‘Hear youth reject Malema as role model’ published on 8 Aprilo 2010.

It’s time now that the country starts to realize that these voices are not representative of the youth. Today, we write this letter not to respond in anger and despair, but to assert, like Ms Kadalie, that the youth of this country can still be a source of hope and inspiration. 

 The Brightest Young Minds organisation is one such case in point. Since its inception in 2000, BYM has created an inter-disciplinary, interracial group of young leaders; people who are positive and have already made significant contributions through social initiatives, scholarship and entrepreneurship. Through hard work and determination, these young people are building bridges over divides that characterise our history.

 But the most important thing, is that Ms Kadalie and BYM are not alone: There are many others who been quietly getting on with business as usual, i.e. the business of treating others with human dignity and respect, the business of making a difference, the business of believing in and working towards a better South Africa.

 It’s time we honour these young people with words and conversation that match their endeavours and achievements. It’s time we stop fueling the idea that only those who are noisy and mis-behaved enough deserve front page attention. It’s time we start looking at the real youth leaders amongst us. It’s time to start re-telling the story of A Free and Fair South Africa - a story that we’ve always believed in, but seem to have temporarily forgotten.

 Let’s keep this conversation going.

GRACE KIM (2010 BYM Summit Organising Committee President), and RALPH BAUMGARTEN (BYM CEO)

* An edited version of the post appeared as a letter in Business Day of 15 April,

The tenth annual Brightest Young Minds summit will be held from 7 – 11 September 2010 in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, and university students and recent graduates are encouraged to apply to attend.

The Brightest Young Minds organisation aims to channel the hearts and minds of young people into initiatives that can affect societal improvement and the annual summit is their flagship activity. One hundred delegates, representing the brilliance and diversity of our country, will be selected on criteria of innovation, leadership and academic accomplishments.

At the summit the 100 delegates will get the chance to interact with some of the top thinkers and most inspiring individuals in the country as well as have the opportunity to develop new ideas and innovative solutions to some of the challenges facing our society. The best of these ideas will be presented on the final day to a high-profile audience of business and public sector leaders.

Past alumni of the summit have included numerous Rhodes and Fulbright Scholars, thriving entrepreneurs and the founders of successful social initiatives. Ideas developed at the summit have been published in a book, been profiled in national media and lead to an award winning business idea.

According to Ralph Baumgarten, CEO of Brightest Young Minds, the theme for the 2010 summit is ‘2010: The Turning Point?’: “2010 is South Africa’s year. While the rest of the world has their eyes fixed on every single decision we make, the platform has been set for South Africa to enter the world stage. At the BYM Summit 2010, South Africa’s brightest young minds are sought, who’ll take initiative to tap into the extraordinary promise of South Africa’s entrance onto the world stage. It is up to our generation of young people to provide leadership that will remark 2010 as the turning point in our country.”

Applications for the summit are available on the BYM website ( and the closing date is 11 June. Successful applicants will be able to attend the summit free of charge.

The 2010 BYM summit presents a unique opportunity for anyone with a bright mind and passionate heart looking to do the exceptional.

Other products and services from Brightest Young Minds


Events : Brightest Young Minds

Date: Friday 14 November 2008Venue: 27 Buitenkant St, Cape Town CBDTime: 16:30 for 17:00 til lateSpeaker: Edgar Pieterse, Director of the African Centre for CitiesCase Study: presented by Zayd Minty, CoordinatorCost: R100 (includes snacks, dinner & drinks)For info. You are warmly invited to join us for an inspiring “Playshop” on the theme of Social Entrepreneurship that will showcase local projects and remarkable individuals in the field.


Project news : Brightest Young Minds

Recognised as an opportunity for fast-tracked access to funding, mentorship and global exposure, the competition focuses on technology and innovation in the fields of biotechnology, telecommunications and media, information and communication technology, ‘clean’ technology, healthcare and social entrepreneurship.


Summit : Brightest Young Minds

It is also important to remember that the South African Generation Y has been growing up in times of major transition: a political transition with profound social impacts, accelerating urbanisation and widening and deepening globalisation. At the BYM Summit 2010, South Africa’s brightest young minds are sought, who’ll take initiative to tap into the extraordinary promise of South Africa’s entrance onto the world stage.