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Running a startup is no walk in the park, just ask anyone who’s ever given it a go. When your margins are as narrow as they are at most startups, any financial injection is seriously welcomed. The #Hack.Jozi Challenge is looking to do exactly that — give R5-million (US$431 231) worth of support to digital startups, as well as mentorship.
The registration for the startup incubator program has already commenced and continues until the end of 15 February 2015. The challenge, the organisers say, is open to the public and any person, start-up, SME, partnership or existing company provided that the principal team member and the bulk of activities of the submission take place in the Municipality of Johannesburg.
A strict pre-screening will be done by a technical team and the startups to get the award will be selected.
The program is targeted at digital entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that address a need in its community.
According to the organisers, “The #Hack.Jozi Challenge is a boot camp for start-up entrepreneurs and our aim is to contribute towards fostering skills, innovation and entrepreneurship in the broad area of digital technology. The programme is in support of capacity development, job creation and enterprise development.
Startups are required to pitch their ideas through a video recording that should not exceed two minutes. The video must be posted on YouTube. The organisers stress that the quality of the video is not important but that the focus should rather be on content. They further add that entrants should:
“Use your video and description to quickly and clearly communicate what you’re trying to do and why you’re doing it. Inspire excitement for your idea, and also make potential backers confident in your ability to see it through”.
In a step by step, the organisers explain what the video should entail:
- Introduce yourself and any teammates involved with your project.
- Tell the story behind your project. Share any progress you’ve made so far, any photos of early prototypes, any research you’ve done. Potential backers appreciate these kinds of details.
- Share a timeline for how you plan to complete your project and send out rewards. Be open and honest about whatever you’re still trying to sort out.
- Include your budget — even if it’s just a rough one. A budget is proof that you’ve planned ahead.
- Most importantly, have fun with it! This is your chance to shine.
A startup then needs to complete a form on the #Hack.Jozi Challenge website.
Successful applicants will go for a month long intensive business and technical training in Johennesburg where they will be expected to show their business value proposition. The selected startups will have access to various resources, mentors and advisors.
Over this month long period, startups will have the opportunity to “network, socialise and share their ideas with like-minded entrepreneurs from around the country”.