Our Flagship Event

Every year we identify 100 new young leaders to join our network. The new recruits first connect at our 5-day summit. Here they teach and inspire each other and, most importantly, act together.

After being inspired by established leaders, which have included Ahmed Kathrada, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, Michael Jordaan, Ketso Gordhan and more, the delegates participate in leadership development and lean start-up methodology up-skilling. Beyond the summit, delegates can use these skills to improve their efforts to change the world.

The culmination of the summit is a team challenge, in which the delegates apply their new skills as they work in teams to design practical solutions to social challenges in the form of sustainable initiatives or businesses with a social impact. It is our aim that all viable solutions come to life by entering into an exclusive BYM incubation fund.

After the summit, delegates officially become part of the BYM network and have access to things like intra-network mentorship, leadership development, networking and further access to funding and business support.

Summit applications are open to 20-32 year olds that are African or living in an African country. We select based on the applicant’s demonstration of their commitment to action and social impact. Even though the summit focuses on very practical up-skilling, we pride ourselves on selecting a rich diversity of delegates, including artists, engineers, scientists, consultants, public servants, civil leaders and more!

All summit costs, including lodging, food and transportation once at the summit are covered. However, those invited to the summit will be asked to cover their travel to and from the 5-day event.

2014 Summit Highlights


2015 summit, #TIA


The 2015 BYM summit will take place from July 16 until July 20 in Johannesburg, South Africa. This year’s summit is especially important, as BYM is celebrating its 15th anniversary!

In order to commemorate this exciting milestone we will not only invite a new class of 100 delegates to the annual summit, but will also invite 50 of our most impactful alumni to attend the summit once again.

The 2015 summit theme will be #TIA (This is Africa). This hashtag is generally used to describe negative ‘African’ things like power outages, potholes, crime, etc — we will turn #TIA on it’s head by focusing on African excellence and turning the continent’s challenges into opportunities. 

Applications for the 2015 Summit are now closed.

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2014 summit, Impact by Design


Recognised as an official World Design Capital (WDC) Cape Town project, the 2014 summit theme was Impact by Design, showcasing the importance of design as a tool for social, cultural and economic development.

Delegates had, among others, designed solar powered technologies, worked on genetically modifying microscopic worms to disinfect water, successfully lobbied for policy systems to support entrepreneurship, launched their own radio stations and designed revolutionary township schools.

Delegates learned about their leadership preferences and how to best work with others using the results of their Insights Discovery profiles provided by BYM partner company Connemara.

Tasos Calantzis of the SABS design institute led the summit project workshop, teaching delegates about human centered design, design thinking and lean start-up methodologies. With these skills, the delegates formed teams and designed start-up like solutions to social, economic or cultural challenges.



Thuli Madonsela is a South African advocate and the Public Protector of South Africa. Advocate Madonsela. She received unanimous support from the multi-party assembly after being appointed by President Jacob Zuma in 2009. Advocate Madonsela is especially well known for her investigation into the public spending on President Zuma’s private homestead in Nkandla.


When Siyabulela Xuza was a young child, he almost set his mother’s kitchen on fire while experimenting with homemade rocket fuel. To date, he has garnered worldwide acclaim for that same rocket fuel, has presented in front of dignitaries such as Steve Wozniak and Michelle Obama, met the King of Sweden and attended a Nobel Prize ceremony. Oh, and he has a minor planet named after him at age 25. His thesis at Harvard centered on creating a storage platform based on micro fuel cells and based on this he is currently developing a sustainable model for energy storage based on micro fuel cells in South Africa.


Ketso is committed to addressing inequality through business. Among other things, he voluntarily took a ZAR 1 million pay cut and convinced his top 60 managers to take pay freezes in order to be able to decrease inequality within his firm. Prior to serving as the CEO of PPC Cement, Ketso was the Executive Director of Private Equity at FirstRand Limited. His most recent role was as an Advisor to the Minister in the Presidency, responsible for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation.


Jonathan is a young entrepreneur and property developer best known for his development of the Maboneng Precinct in downtown Johannesburg. In 2009, he bought and redeveloped the building known as Arts on Main. The area has subsequently grown to cover 5 developments. Liebmann recently returned from the World Economic Forum in Addis Ababa, where he represented Johannesburg and Maboneng on a global stage. He has also received a Halala Award in 2009 for Play Joburg and again in 2012 for Working and Buying Joburg.


Awethu was conceived by Yusuf Randera-Rees while at Oxford University and has been operating for the past five years. It aims to become the world’s best business partner to talented entrepreneurs from under-resourced communities, and has been recognised as one of the world’s most innovative social enterprises. Awethu has already created over 350 jobs, lists Archbishop Desmond Tutu as its Patron, and is now scaling rapidly with significant support from the South African Government.

Yusuf attended Oxford as a South African Rhodes Scholar, and before that worked in a volatility trading group at Credit Suisse in New York and Zurich. He grew up in Johannesburg before getting his AB (Honors) in Economics from Harvard University. That said, he’s a passionate South African who grew up in Joburg and has barely left Braamfontein for the past five years! For more information on his project, visit www.awethuproject.co.za.


As a trained Clinical Psychologist, Mardia is an expert at crafting company culture. After beginning her career in London, Mardia moved back to South Africa and helped develop the HR function for both M-Net and ‘Mutlichoice.’ She then moved to T-Systems in 1998, helping to build the company from 210 to 934 employees by 2001. In 2005 Mardia was appointed CEO of T-Systems SA and then Managing Director a year later. By 2010, she lead T-Systems SA to become the largest ICT Outsourcer in SA, with over 2700 employees. Mardia has been recognised as Nedbank Business Woman of the Year, the IT Web ICT Personality of the Year and as a recipient of the SITA ICT Legend Award for her contribution to ICT Development.


Arnold is an accomplished Chemical and Materials Engineer, holding his PhD in Engineering from the University of Cape Town. He has held various leading positions in the R&D Sector and even applied his innovative thinking to the transport industry. He was the Vice-President of Stellenbosch University until March 2012 when he started his position as Rector of TU Chemnitz in Germany. He serves as a Member of the Academy of Science South Africa and is a past Member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation. Arnold is also a BYM Advisor. He currently holds 58 patents.


Neil Jacobsohn, Senior Partner of FutureWorld International, is a life-long communicator with a passion for the future. He has been an award-winning journalist, a digital entrepreneur, a company director and professional marketer. Unusually, he combined entrepreneurship with corporate success. He has served as chairman, executive director on a number of listed and unlisted company Boards. A former Managing Editor of Business Day, Chairman and CEO of Johnnic Digital and Group Marketing Director of Johnnic Communications, Neil is a founding member of the FutureWorld Network. He’s an energetic and entertaining speaker, strategist and facilitator, who presents for corporates and learning institutions around the world, including the London Business School, Oxford’s SAID Business School and Duke Corporate Education.


Alayne graduated from the University of Cape Town and began her early career as a teacher and diplomat. She served in South African missions in New York, Washington DC and London. She also spent two years as the spokesperson for the trilateral negotiation effort that led to Namibia’s independence. She completed an MA in communication theory is the United States, and worked in the dot com boom in Seattle for two years before joining the Microsoft Corporation. For the next six years she was the executive producer for Bill Gates’ enterprise summit and customer interaction round-tables. In 2009 she returned to South Africa to set up her own consultancy in executive search and development and joined the World Design Capital team in January 2013. Alayne has been a BYM advisor since 2009.