Young tech innovators to showcase products at Innovate SA event

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Three tech projects will be among the eight presented at the Innovate South Africa Final Showcase in a bid to win the ZAR10,000 (US$920) prize and the chance to further incubate their project.

The event, which takes place on Saturday, November 1 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in Cape Town, will see eight innovative ideas to solve major issues in South Africa presented by groups of high school learners.

Three of the finalists implement technology in an attempt to solve a particular local issue. They are SLYZ, a mobile app that allows students and teachers to discuss topics through social media, Transport Revolution, a system that allows travellers to pre-pay for travel credit using an app, and HushApp, which looks to tackle physical insecurity through an Android application that gives users advice on how to cope when they are confronted by physical insecurities.

The eight projects were chosen after the organisation reached out to schools to run workshops, inviting submissions to the competition. The selected teams – eight from Cape Town and two from Johannesburg – then received up to ZAR5,000 (US$460) in seed funding to develop their prototype over three months.

“I have been blown away by the calibre of our young innovators this year, so I am certain it will be a treat for people to come along and be inspired,” Stefan Louw, Innovate South Africa director, told Disrupt Africa. “These learners give me a lot of hope for South Africa’s future. Not only are they very talented, but they are passionate about solving social issues. They really are world-changers.”

Louw said his team would love to see is further support for the finalists, especially in the form of mentorship.

“A lot of these projects have amazing potential, and even though we will have one overall winner, we want all of them to continue with their projects,” he said.

“We hope to also showcase what is possible from our youth in order to get people on board to join the team next year. We strive to be an inclusive platform to support local innovation. There are many opportunities to contribute to our work at every step of the way and we welcome and appreciate all the support that we can get from the community.”

The overall winner will also be hoping to earn further incubation and mentorship.

“We have an extensive network of incubators and other further opportunities that we link our students up with,” said Louw. “As an example, the GoVarsity team (2013 winners) attended the Innovia program at RLabs in Athlone.”

It is the second showcase organised by Innovate South Africa, which rebranded from Innovate The Cape this year and works mainly work in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Rapalang Rabana, recent winner of the Entrepreneur for the World (Youth) Award at the World Entrepreneurship Forum in France, will be speaking at the pitching event.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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