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#Hack.Jozi Challenge winners announced

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The top three winners of the #Hack.Jozi Challenge have been announced. The competition, aimed at people wishing to make a difference in their community by developing the best digital solutions to everyday problems, was developed by the City of Jo’burg – in partnership with Wits University working through its Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) – to enhance the ICT capacity of the city for better technological engagement with its citizens.

Desmond Mongwe of MoWallet was awarded R1-million, Niel Pieters of Lazy Lizzard and Percy Lawrence of MoveThisStuff were both awarded R350 000 each.

The challenge began with more than 140 applications. After the play-offs and a hackathon, 10 teams remained in the finals.

MoWallet enables brands to connect with customers and improving distribution of vouchers in an FMCG environment.

Lazy Lizard is innovative educational software that is relevant to the junior school curriculum, accessible on online and offline platforms and allowing parents to track their child’s progress.

Move this Stuff is a logistics application to provide cost-effective removal and transport options.

With prizes valued at R5-million worth of support including cash, the #Hack.Jozi Challenge drew huge interest from digital entrepreneurs. Short video entries were submitted, which included digital solutions for issues ranging from healthcare and security, apps for musicians and artists to earn a living, digital learning solutions for youngsters and digital marketing solutions. The common thread was using technology to help each finalist’s community.

In addition, more than 40 teams (100 delegates) participated in a one month accelerator and business training presented by Seed Academy which provided intensive entrepreneurship training and technical hackathons. IBM’s Bluemix, a cloud-based platform, has been awarded to the top 10 teams for a year.

The city has committed R5-million to fund an annual #Hack.Jozi Challenge to accelerate early stage ICT startups who have great ideas but require funding.

Zolani Matebese, the head of broadband at the City of Johannesburg, describes the #Hack.Jozi Challenge as a boot camp for startup entrepreneurs.

“We have witnessed great enhancements to ideas from the start of the business training through to final delivery of a minimum viable product,” he says. “The #Hack.Jozi Challenge offered extensive support to finalists. Entrepreneurs need access to seed funding as well as access to industry contacts. We have helped to resolve these challenges. We will be incubating the winning ideas by awarding membership in the Digital Innovation Zone in Braamfontein, which provides access to various resources such as mentors, advisors, investors, technical support and our strategic partners.”

The judging committee, consisting of executives from the mayoral office, representatives from Wits University’s JCSE, The Innovation Hub, IBM and various entrepreneurs selected the top three from the top 10.