Innovation Summit, Bandwidth Barn Khayelitsha to host first Smart Communities Hackathon [SPONSORED]

This year, the collaboration between the City of Cape Town and the SA Innovation Summit (SAIS) features a high impact hackathon with lasting results! A 24-hour Smart Communities Hackathon in collaboration with The Barn, Khayelitsha (part of the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative – Citi) and the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) will take place in Khayelitsha from 19 to 20 August and give a voice to the wider region to identify and solve their most important community needs.

The SAIS 2016 High Impact Series Smart Communities hackathon is an exciting highlight on Cape Town’s innovation calendar and revolves around building smart communities. The initiative is driven by the City of Cape Town’s long-term commitment to addressing the needs of communities.

The format will be a 24-hour marathon event of creative and solution-driven action by multidisciplinary teams with the objective of enabling upliftment of the standards of living of communities and geographical neighbourhoods. This is not purely technology-focused, but will rather be about building agency and confidence in creative problem-solving and community-driven initiatives, that may or may not involve the use of technology in one form or another. The CCDI will assist in taking participants through a rapid ideation programme, underpinned by a design thinking methodology.

A pre-event meetup took place at The Barn, Khayelitsha on Saturday 2 July, to consult with the community leadership, ward-representatives, community organisations and other stakeholders. The purpose was to identify the three most pressing challenges experienced in the area. Top among the issues identified were safety and security, water and sanitation, healthcare and education. In addition to the identified challenges, we are introducing a fourth challenge around enabling incremental upgrading of informal settlements. This challenge is the theme of the Better Living Challenge which aims to surface design innovations that support the improvement of the living conditions of low-income communities in the Western Cape.

These challenges will guide the opportunity areas to be unpacked at the hackathon:

  1. “How might we empower our communities in fighting crime?”
  2. “How might we accelerate service delivery in our communities?”
  3. “How might we improve the quality of life for the elderly in our communities?”
  4. “How might we enable incremental upgrading of informal settlements?”


“The Smart Communities Hackathon offers teams the opportunity to develop solutions that will have the potential to be scaled to other communities throughout South Africa, in a very community-focused environment,” says Michelle Matthews of the CiTi.

The winning idea will receive a R10 000 cash prize and its leader a place in a 3-month VeloCiTi Incubation programme with the Bandwidth Barn, a CiTi operated initiative. The CiTi is the flagship organisation for the technology sector in the Western Cape and has become a blueprint for development in industry -and public sector collaboration. The Bandwidth Barn has been recognised as Africa’s leading and most established incubator and accelerator. They have incubated hundreds of start-ups that have become global success stories and generated thousands of new jobs.

Mentors and facilitators will be present during the hackathon to support teams and accelerate the creative process.

Dr Audrey Verhaeghe, chairperson of the SA Innovation Summit invites Cape Town’s hacker community to participate: “With this hackathon, we would like to see the communities involved realise increased prosperity and the amplification of the collective voice to increase the impact they have in the region.”

Ian Merrington, CEO of the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), said: “We are witnessing an unprecedented wave of technology-driven innovation improving people’s lives. We firmly believe in local solutions for local problems, which is one the primary reasons for CiTi having located a Barn innovation hub in the Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain corridor, an area filled with creative talent and ability. Curated activities such as the Smart Communities Hackathon serve to help to unlock this potential”

Innovation Summit


Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Ventureburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.