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The #Hack.Jozi Challenge recently announced the winner of its R1-million reward. Developed by the City of Johannesburg and Wits University, the event was aimed at developing digital solutions to everyday problems.
First place was awarded to MoWallet, a startup focused around coupons and vouchers, and spearheaded by Desmond Mongwe, took the prize of R1-million. Lazy Lizard’s Teachinator and MoveThisStuff both took runner-up places, which consisted of a R350 000 prize each. The top ten teams also received a subscription to IBM’s Bluemix for a year. The City of Johannesburg pledged R5-million towards the #Hack.Jozi Challenge project and prizes.
The judging panel consisted of The Innovation Hub, IBM, and representatives from Wits University’s JCSE, executives from the mayoral office, and various entrepreneurs. This panel chose the top three from the final 10 contestants.
The challenge aims to bring more technological advancement to the City of Johannesburg. It is a boot camp which aims to help innovation and entrepreneurship within the area of digital technology. Parks Tau, the executive mayor of the City of Johannesburg, who handed out the awards, stated this:
Through the Hack Jozi challenge, we hope to attract, and indeed did attract, innovative, entrepreneurial, and technologically aware business people with great ideas for digital products that will help solve problems in their respective communities.
Digital access is becoming as much an equity issue in our society as access to water and electricity.
The challenge began with 140 applications, which were whittled down to the ten presented at the final event. All of these finalists showed remarkable ideas on how to change Johannesburg using technology.
The finalists were:
- Diepsloot Kasi Hive – digital appointment booking system for the healthcare industry.
- MoveThisStuff – cost-effective removal and transport application.
- Township Economy App (iTEA) – platform connecting SMMEs with consumers and other township businesses.
- MoWallet – enables brands to connect with customers and improve distribution of vouchers in informal settlements.
- Atinov / Scova Fire – a device for quickly and accurately reporting on fires in townships.
- Ghost – an application for artists to make a living.
- Tirisan Tech Solutions – app for logging service delivery queries with municipalities.
- South African Trade Promotions – brings buyers and sellers to exhibitions remotely.
- Teachinator / Lazy Lizzard – educational software for junior school curriculum. It allows parents to track their child’s progress.
- How2Get2 – A application showing users how to reach a destination via different modes of public transport.
In addition to the competition, 1000 delegates (over 40 teams) participated in a one-month business training and accelerator programme, presented by Seed Academy. This additional course provided training on entrepreneurship and technical hackathons to the participants.
During the event, Ravi Naidoo, from the Department of Economic Development, spoke about Johannesburg’s economy, entrepreneurs, and mention the city’s plan to create a more digital environment.
The City of Johannesburg has pledged R5-million to make #Hack.Jozi an annual event.
“Many things will start here – startups, creative spaces, and showcase events, but the digital revolution must disrupt life in every corner of the city for the better,” says Tau. The event is only the first step in a much larger plan for Johannesburg. He continued, “Hack Jozi is one part of a grand plan that will see thousands of new digital entrepreneurs rise from our townships and informal settlements; and indeed our suburbs. Unlocking value, opening new markets and building broad-based prosperity.”