Every one of our 100 candidates deserves a prize.

Let’s just get that on the record. It’s the reason we created The Young Independents platform in the first place – to elevate, celebrate and inspire more young people to rise to the top.

And rise they are, in so many ways and across all industries. It’s not hard finding 100 people for this list every year. It’s very hard to keep it at only 100. A good problem to have when we have so many serious ones on the horizon that will need to be solved by the next generation.

This year we made our task even harder by selecting 15 “inspiring and aspiring young leaders” to take home R250 000 in total prize money. Needless to say, even with a matrix to make the judging as objective as possible, we had a lot of debates, discussions and even sleepless nights.

How could there be only 15?

Why is this person a winner and others just second and third placed?

Sometimes awards can be a curse as much as a blessing. But then I read these profiles over again and I feel comfort in my heart, because I know that it doesn’t matter who actually wins the prize money. It all ends up in the same place anyway – supporting, growing and inspiring more young people to do good, by themselves, and for others. And that’s what it’s really about.

Sharing the goodwill, however small it may be.

And I also like to believe that once this list goes public, these words will bounce across the eyes and ears of our nation’s leaders and change-makers.

There are so many more rewards in store for each and every one of our 100 disruptors, healers, innovators, influencers and trailblazers. Because that’s what inspired leadership does – it uses whatever resources it has to create opportunity for more people to lead the way.

And right now, we could do with so much more of this kind of inspired leadership.

Lift as you rise.

– Cat Pritchard, Editor of Top 100 Young Independents

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