Geekulcha launches innovation challenge, calls for industry support

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Geekulcha’s Student Society (GKSS) has launched its GKSS 2020 Innovation Challenge, centering it around day-to-day life post-coronavirus.

GKSS is aimed at encouraging tech and innovation leadership on South African campuses.

In a statement, the youth IT ecosystem says the challenge has been created to encourage Geekulcha student societies to provide digital solutions that would help the broader student community prepare for academic and social life beyond the pandemic.  

Under the theme ‘Student life post COVID-19’, the Innovation Challenge focuses on goals such as helping students locate essential services on or around campus, and finding ways to expose freshmen to the IT industry.  

GKSS members have been challenged to ‘make use of open source digital stacks to build solutions that will bring about change in campus and society’.

Over a period of three weeks (13- 27 April), more than 20 GKSS chapters across the country’s tertiary institutions are expected to participate.

The challenge will be opened to students outside GKSS on 17 April, with all participants receiving open source training and feedback from GKSS mentors through a dedicated GKSS Innovation Challenge page.

Gabriel Cassim, Geekulcha’s open source lead, says the challenge has been to make open source accessible to a wider audience.

“We asked ourselves how we can make things easier and more accessible for future geeks. Paid software limits the number of people who can use it. So, by using open source software, we’re enabling them to utilise these tools without worrying about how much it will cost them. We'll be sharing a lot of resources with challenge participants.”

The Innovation Challenge’s page will include resources such as links to open source software, webinars, tutorials and articles that can be used beyond the challenge.

Geekulcha has dedicated 2020 to becoming a ‘full development house’. This means ensuring its network’s continuous learning and development by incorporating what participants learn in class with lessons from hackathons and other Geekulcha initiatives, such as this challenge.

Kingsley Kgwedi, who is in charge of community development, says participants have been given free rein.  "All the skills they've learnt from previous hackathons and workshops should be used to help them solve these problem statements. They can also use other development tools to enhance their projects."

Prizes include cash and support in implementing solutions. Final presentations in the GKSS 2020 Innovation Challenge take place on 27 April.

Call for industry support

Geekulcha has also put out a call to organisations that can support the Innovation Challenge by sponsoring prizes or mentoring participants. 

Offers can be sent to:

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