Applications open for 2nd #Hack.Jozi Challenge

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Applications have opened for the second edition of the #Hack.Jozi Challenge, with up to ZAR1 million (US$63,855) prize money on offer to entrepreneurs with digital ideas that can transform their community.

Disrupt Africa reported last January the City of Johannesburg launched the #Hack.Jozi initiative, recognising entrepreneurs using technology to solve pressing community problems.  

Based on the success of last year’s event, the City of Johannesburg has again partnered the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Witwatersrand (Wits) University to host the second edition of the Challenge.

The City has committed prizes valued at ZAR5 million (US$319,830) in the form of business mentoring and support, while the overall winner will receive ZAR1 million (US$63,855), and two runners up will be awarded ZAR350,000 (US$22,388).

“We aim to accelerate visionary entrepreneurs in the ICT sector. This is important because ICT is central to improved productivity, economic growth and job creation. We are a young City with a young population and we have excellent business and research capacity which can create the perfect environment for us to develop advanced ICT products and services,” said Ravi Naidoo, executive director for economic development for the City.

As per last year’s competition, successful applicants will proceed through two elimination rounds. First, the top 100 applicants will be invited to a bootcamp to help refine their ideas. Thereafter, the top 20 will receive additional mentoring and support. Winners are selected following a Demo Day.

Entries should address challenges in four categories: general, public spaces and tourism, smart infrastructure, and economic development.

Applicants may be individuals or teams, with at least one member of the team residing in Johannesburg.

Applications are open until March 25.

Disrupt Africa reported last year’s winner was Desmond Mongwe with his startup MoWallet, which enables brands to connect with customers and improves the distribution of vouchers in an FMCG environment.

The two runners up were Niel Pieters and his idea Lazy Lizzard, innovative educational software that allows parents to track their child’s progress; and Percy Lawrence for MoveThisStuff, a logistics application providing cost effective removal and transportation options.

Last year’s Challenge attracted 144 applications in total.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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