The finalists of the inaugural #Hack.Jozi Challenge are the bedrock on which the City of Johannesburg hopes to build its vision of a techno-savvy, world-class African city.
This was the message delivered to the top 10 finalists of the challenge at a breakfast session held in their honour and hosted by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development Councillor Ruby Mathang and Executive Director of Economic Development Ravi Naidoo at the Joburg Theatre on Thursday August 6.
MMC Mathang and Naidoo said the #Hack.Jozi Challenge was poised to become an annual event. The competition is a joint initiative of the City of Johannesburg and Wits University’s Centre of Software Engineering aimed at unearthing techno-savvy individuals and SMMEs with great solutions to the city’s everyday problems. The 10 finalists were Diepkloof Kasi Hive, MoveThisStuff, i-Tea, MoWallet, Atinov, Ghost, Tirisan Tech Solutions, South African Trade Solutions, Lazy Lizzard and How2Get2.
MoWallet won the R1 million first prize at a gala dinner at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Origin Centre on July 8. MoveThisStuff and Lazy Lizzard each received R350 000 cash incentives for clinching second and third places respectively.
MoWallet impressed the judges with its PopAppsDeals tool, an easy-to-use, cost-saving application through which customers can redeem coupons in exchange for specific products at their nearest spaza shop. MoveThisStuff seeks to take the hassle out of moving house or office by linking customers to a logistics service provider in a few easy steps, whereas Lazy Lizzard provides parents with an easy and interactive way to keep an eye on their children’s scholastic performance and help out with homework.
Speaking at the breakfast session, MMC Mathang said: “When I look at the outcomes of the #Hack.Jozi competition, represented by you here today, I’m ever more convinced that we are on the right track.”
“You’ve brought about new ways of thinking about many of the problems that confront Joburgers and ordinary South Africans. You’ve got us thinking about what else is possible with information technology,” MMC Mathang.
“It is therefore in our interest to really see that you grow from strength to strength ... You are the type of entrepreneurs that the City must showcase when global and thought leaders, academics and investors from over 150 countries descend on Johannesburg for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2017.”
He said City officials would liaise with various City departments and municipal-owned entities to further develop the finalists’ ideas for a better Johannesburg.
“We want to look at these ideas and see how we can use your knowledge to inspire the economy. So, I really think there’s an opportunity for you. But more than that, you should also know that this is an opportunity for us as government because if you succeed it is the City that succeeds, it is this country that succeeds,” he said.