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'Tech-preneurs' to vie for R5m in startup support

Mar 15 2016 11:10

Cape Town - A Johannesburg initiative is giving 'tech-preneurs' the opportunity to win R5m in startup support for great ideas.

"We are calling on entries from people who live, work and play in the City of Joburg and who have an idea about how technology can be used to make a difference in our city," Executive Director for Economic Development for the City of Johannesburg Ravi Naidoo said.

“It is the technologically-savvy young citizens of this wonderful and complex city that we live in that are likely to be closest to the real kinds of issues and challenges that people face. They may well have a winning idea that the #Hack.Jozi Challenge will help them take forward into a money-making enterprise. No idea is too big or too small."

Potential tech-preneurs who come up with technology solutions to everyday Jozi problems stand the chance of turning their digital ideas into viable business opportunities.

The #Hack.Jozi Challenge is a project of the City of Johannesburg and the JCSE (Joburg Centre for Software Engineering) at Wits University.

“This competition is designed to accelerate early stage ICT startups. It supports capacity development, job creation and enterprise development in our City,” said Naidoo.

"But let us remember that it is about real people and real challenges - as well as about boosting entrepreneurship in the broad area of digital technology and promoting much-needed local economic development," he said.

Three entrants will walk away with a total of R1.7m: R1m for the overall winner of the 2016 #Hack.Jozi Challenge and R350 000 each for the two runners-up. They will each be supported by a business mentor around how best to use the prize money and accelerate their idea into a successful enterprise.

The top 20 selected entrants will receive additional business mentorship. The top 10 will win a one-year free membership of the well-known ICT Hub in Braamfontein, which is a Wits University initiative under the leadership of Professor Barry Dwolatzky.

The top one hundred entrants as start-up entrepreneurs will attend a special entrepreneurship and business training boot camp geared to helping them develop their great digital ideas into possible business opportunities.

To enter, visit www.hackjozichallenge.co.za and complete the entry form. Entries should address challenges in the following categories: public spaces/tourism; smart infrastructure, economic development and general. 

Applicants can be individuals or teams, one of whom must live in the Johannesburg area. Government employees are not eligible.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, 25 March 2016. A committee will select the winners. The winners will be selected after two elimination rounds. The city will not take any equity in any of the businesses.

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