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Joburg offers R5m in innovation prizes

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With prizes valued at R5-million worth of support including R1m for the winner and R350 000 for two runners up and a boot camp for the top 100 ideas, innovators might just want to share your great digital ideas that can transform their community.
The City of Johannesburg’s Department of Economic Development and Wits University through the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) have partnered to make the second #Hack.Jozi Challenge possible.
The #Hack.Jozi Challenge is a boot camp for startup entrepreneurs and aims to contribute towards fostering skills, innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital technology space.
Ravi Naidoo, executive director for economic development for the city, who is overseeing the competition explains: “We aim to accelerate visionary entrepreneurs in the ICT sector. This is important because ICT is central to improved productivity, economic growth and job creation. We are a young city with a young population and we have excellent business and research capacity which can create the perfect environment for us to develop advanced ICT products and services.”
No issue is too big or small. Issues that can be addressed include everything from access to healthcare to affordable education. Entries should address challenges in the following categories:
* General;
* Public spaces/tourism;
* Smart infrastructure; or
* Economic development.
“If you have an idea about how you can use technology to help your community and grow the economy, we want to hear from you,” says Naidoo.
Applicants can be individuals or teams, one of whom must live in the Johannesburg area. Government employees are not eligible.
The deadline for submissions is Friday 25 March 2016, which will be followed by a strict pre-screening to be conducted by a technical team. A committee will select the winners.
The City of Johannesburg has committed R5-million in support to fund the competition and accelerate early stage ICT startups. The winners will be selected after two elimination rounds.  The city will not take any equity in any of the businesses.
The top 100 contestants will be offered after-hours entrepreneurship and business training that will help them to refine the ideas. These contestants will be hosted and mentored in Jozi’s digital innovation hub in the heart of Braamfontein, where they will have access to various resources, mentors, advisors as well as partners to make their vision of helping their community a reality.
The top 20 will be offered additional business mentorship and all who make the top 10 will win a one year membership of the ICT Hub in Braamfontein. The hub is an initiative hosted by Wits University under the leadership of Professor Barry Dwolatzky.