#Hack.Jozi Challenge finalists to showcase products at demo day

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The 10 #Hack.Jozi Challenge finalists will tomorrow (June 30) showcase their products at demo day, with the winning team set to walk away with a ZAR1 million (US$80,000) cash prize.

Disrupt Africa reported in January the City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Witwatersrand (Wits) University had launched the #Hack.Jozi Challenge, inviting applications from tech entrepreneurs providing digital solutions to community problems.

There were 144 applications for the challenge, which has since been whittled down to 10 finalists, all of which will demo their products tomorrow at the Origins Centre at Wits University from midday.

The winning team will receive the ZAR1 million cash prize, while the second and third runners up will each win ZAR350,000 (US$29,000). The total prize purse is valued at ZAR5 million (US$410,000), including support provided to all entrants.

The winners will be announced by Johannesburg’s executive mayor Parks Tau at an awards evening on July 8. Winning startups will receive membership and technical support at the new Tshimologong Precinct digital hub, as well as one-year free hosting credit for their business applications from IBM.

The finalists include ideas ranging from mobile banking applications and social interactive applications to online game applications promoting South African culture. They have just completed a month-long process run by Seed Academy.

“We are doing this because ICT is central to improved productivity, economic growth and job creation. We have excellent business and research capacity which, combined with the fact that we are a young City with a young population, create the perfect environment for us to develop advanced ICT products and services,” said Ravi Naidoo, executive director for economic development at the City of Johannesburg.

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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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