Cape tech initiative names finalists of township tech hackathon

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Following a weekend-long online hackathon to shine the light on township tech, the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) has selected six teams as finalists of the challenge.

The teams, chosen from a variety of participating innovators, technologists and entrepreneurs, will now vie for the hackathon challenge’s top prize.

The Township Tech hackathon is a component of the Township Tech project being run by CiTi for the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT).

DEDAT’s technology ecosystem project is promoting the uptake of technology in the safety, screen, financial, township and fourth industrial revolution technology sectors in the Western Cape.

According to CiTi, the hackathon challenge aims to catalyse innovative solutions that will not only promote growth, but also provide opportunities for new businesses and tech ideas within the townships.

Furthermore, its goal is to ignite the township’s tech activity and interaction around main themes, and stimulate the formation of new companies or products based on solving real-life problems, notes the tech incubator.

“We are so inspired by these entrepreneurs. In total, we received 12 submissions from 10 teams,” says Fezeka Mavuso, GM of Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn. “Now each of the finalist teams will receive coaching sessions to polish their pitches for the final pitch event.”

The teams are assigned to a coach, who will invest time in mentoring the finalists, notes Mavuso.

The hackathon competition focused on three themes: safety and security, reach of services and support, and increased connectivity.

The finalists within the safety and security theme are teams OHMS and Tec Khaltsha. They will receive coaching from Carrie Leaver from AG Makers.

Under reach and support, the two teams that have been selected are Basket and Thenga IT Troopers, who will be coached by CiTi’s Lara Rosmarin.

Cyberspace and Tech Innovators make up the final two teams, and they will receive leadership coaching from Skywalk Innovation’s Tyrone Adams under the increased connectivity theme.

All of the hackathon finalists will go into a massive pitch competition on 10 March. The final pitch winners will receive a R5 000 cash prize, three months of free co-working space at the Bandwidth Barn, a 10-month online entrepreneurial programme, as well as the creation of a promotional marketing video featuring their new businesses.

“The main purpose of the Township Tech initiative is to build capability and strengthen township technology solutions,” says Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi.

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