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Capitec intros hackathon for post-COVID-19 SA

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Capitec Bank is inviting SA’s innovators to participate in the first edition of its virtual hackathon, by formulating dynamic tech solutions for a post-COVID-19 South Africa.

As of this morning, there are 76 334 confirmed COVID-19 cases in SA, with 1 625 deaths.

While the pandemic has thrown SA into disarray, it is poised to shape the future of countries, by informing how governments, businesses and communities respond to the pandemic, to pave a way for recovery, according to Capitec Bank.

The bank is seeking a range of theories and ideas to help shape the country after the virus has been defeated, offering a prize of R100 000 for the winning solution.

The virtual hackathon, set to kick off from 29 June with a live stream, will see participating teams receive mentorship from top tech innovators, including Baratang Miya, CEO of GirlHYPE; Annette Muller, founder of FlexyForce; Charl Greeff, head of engineering at One Day Only; Stuart Ntlathi, founder of the Stuart Ntlathi Science, Engineering and Technology Institute; Tumi Sineke, head of OfferZen Foundation; and Luvuyo Rani, founder of Silulo Ulutho Technologies.

“This initiative focuses on finding new tech and new talent to help solve many of the collective challenges we’ll be facing post-COVID-19,” says Francois Dempers, innovation manager at Capitec.

“South Africans are famed for our ingenuity. We want to harness this to foster the collaborative creativity required to help our people live better in the aftermath of this pandemic.”

The bank says it is looking for curious minds across all sectors of society.

The hackathon is limited to 10 teams of up to five members each. To enter, teams need to demonstrate a functioning tech solution – but not everyone on the team needs to be a developer.

A post-COVID-19 SA will mean business unusual is the new normal, as businesses adapt in smart ways with intelligent, tech-led solutions, notes Dempers.

“For us, it’s about providing a platform to let our brightest minds lead the way. The solution does not need to be banking-related and all intellectual property remains that of the inventors.

“We want innovators and entrepreneurs. Artists and philosophers… The solution can benefit any facet of society – it doesn’t need to be limited to the banking industry.”

From the start of the hackathon, teams will have 21 days to develop their concepts, with daily feedback from their mentors. On 10 July, the teams will pitch their solutions to the judging panel, with the winners announced on 17 July.

To enter, teams need a computer, Web cam and mic, and a fast, stable Internet connection. Teams can enter by e-mailing hackathon@capitecbank.co.za, with a description of the team, the motivation behind entering and the big idea.

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