What is the #Hack.Jozi Challenge?

The #Hack.Jozi Challenge is a competition for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to solve a challenge that the citizens of Joburg face, by developing the best digital solutions to everyday problems.

Entries must address challenges in the following categories:

  • General
  • Public spaces/tourism
  • Smart infrastructure
  • Economic development

A month long accelerator is offered along with business training.

Who can apply?
The competition is open to South African individuals and teams, provided that the principal team member and the bulk of activities of the solution take place within the municipality of Johannesburg. The challenge ran for the first time in 2015 and die to its success it will run again in 2016

Why was it started ?
This initiative was developed by City of Joburg (The Department of Economic Development which is concerned with economic development and transformation in Johannesburg) and Wits University though its Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE). The competition is a way to respond to the critical need to enhance the ICT capacity of the City for enhanced technological engagement with its citizen. The JCSE has established an ICT Hub in Braamfontein from where the competition will be run.

The competition has four objectives:

  1. Opens a channel for new ideas
  2. Seed funds a handful of ideas, one or two of which might be game-changers
  3. Uses the incremental funding to enhance cooperation stakeholders
  4. Starts momentum on ICT projects right away, leveraging private sector activity and ideas that are already in the pipeline

What are the prizes?:
The City of Johannesburg has committed R5 million to fund the competition and accelerate early stage ICT startups who have great ideas, but who require funding. The R5m will be used for: training, (100, 20 and 10), technical assistance, sponsorship of incubator seats, administration of the competition and public relations.The winners of the competition will be selected after two elimination rounds.

The prizes are as follows:

First prize: R1m, managed by the JCSE, with a business mentor as support in how the prize money is spent

Two second prizes: R350k, managed by the JCSE, each with a business mentor as support in how the prize money is spent

The top 100 contestants will be offered :
Entrepreneurial training that will help them to asses if their products and services meet three criteria:
• Do people really need it?
• Will it make business sense for us to create this product?
• Do we have the resources to deliver upon this purpose?

Monthly members’ meet-ups at the ICT Hub in Braamfontein.

The Top 10 will be offered:
One year membership of the ICT Hub in Braamfontein.

Is equity taken in any of the businesses?

The city will not take any equity in any of the businesses. Any intellectual property generated will be owned by the individual, team or business which came up with the idea.

What training will be offered

Mentorship and training will be in the form of full day workshops and shorter three hour sessions.

These following topics will be covered

Ideation, Product Development, Target Market Interrogation and Design Thinking:
Theme: Creative thinking, unlocking innovative potential.
Outcome: Learn how to interrogate an idea and compare it to a finite set of criteria required.

Finding your product/services’ reason for being:
Introduction: Entrepreneurship Starter Kit: The principles and practices related to entrepreneurship
Outcome: Participants will learn to tell a customer-centred or community centred product/service story.

Taking your idea and turning it into a business:
Introduction: Business Planning: How to formalize your idea into a business plan
Outcome: Participants will walk away from the daylong session with their own business model canvas, for their idea.

Learning how to tell your story, in a pitch:
Theme: Field questions related to your idea and pitch under pressure. How to put together a meaningful and impactful pitch presentation, to best relay your product’s message.
Outcome: Participants will be demo-day ready, with a refined pitch deck ready to showcase at the demo-day.

Mentorship will include the refinement of participant pitches ahead of the demo day.

How to apply?
Complete the entry form at http://hackjozichallenge.co.za/ in writing and submit this by 25 March 2016.

How does the competition work?

Initially 100 contestants and teams will be selected from the entries submitted. Shortlist will be announced on the 4th of April

They will be offered two weeks of after-hours mentoring at the ICT Hub in Braamfontein after which 20 finalists will be selected at the playoffs. Playoffs will be on the 15th of April

The top 20 will be offered further mentoring(20-21 April) and then ten will be selected at a hackathon on 23 April. Later that month, a demo day will be held.

On 19 May, the top three winners will be announced at a gala event with high profile city officials.

Who won last year?


R1 million: Desmond Mongwe - MoWallet

Enables brands to connect with customers and improving distribution of vouchers in an FMCG environment.

www.mowallet.co.za . @mowallet . https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mowallet/438456869606330


R 350 000: Niel Pieters - Lazy Lizzard

Innovative educational software that is relevant to the junior school curriculum. Accessible on online and offline platforms and allows parents to track their child’s progress.

http://www.teachinator.com . http://www.lazylizzard.org . @TheLazyLizzard . http://www.facebook.com/lazylizzard


R 350 000: Percy Lawrence-Move this stuff

A logistics application to provide cost effective removal and transport options.

http://www.movethisstuff.co.za . @movethisstuff . https://www.facebook.com/movethisstuff


Who are the spokespeople for the #Hackozi Challenge?

Ravi Naidoo

Executive Director: Economic Development & Tourism, City of Johannesburg


Ravi Naidoo is responsible for economic strategy, tourism development, and transversal economic programmes including the green economy, investment attraction, economic rejuvenation of precincts, and SME incubator programmes.

He joined the city in January 2014 with over twenty years of experience in the state and development.

He was previously the Head of Economic Research and Policy for the Department of Trade and Industry, where also served for three years as coordinator of the Cabinet Committee on Employment and the Economy. He served for five years as Group Executive for Development Planning with the Development Bank.

Over these twenty years, he has been involved in many innovative projects such as establishing the National Green Fund, facilitating the 2009-2012 national health programme life-expectancy turn-around, incentives for film and television production, expansion of the social security system, pension fund law reform, and restructuring the UIF.

Previously he was the director of the labour-aligned think-tank, Naledi. Ravi has also worked with a number of international bodies including the UN Development Programme and the International Labour Organisation.

Ravi has a master’s degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Prof Barry Dwolatzky

Director of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE)


Prof Barry Dwolatzky was appointed the Director of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) in May 2007. Prior to that, he was academic director at the JCSE and a Professor in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering at Wits.

Prof Dwolatzky’s driving passion is to promote the growth and development of the South African software industry. He set up the Information Engineering option in Electrical Engineering at Wits and developed a course-based Masters programme in Software Engineering, which was registered as a Learnership within the SA Government’s skills development framework.

He also played a key role in the founding of the JCSE in 2005. Prof Dwolatzky has published over 40 research papers in journals and conferences and has supervised 24 MSc students and three PhDs.

He joined Wits in 1989, returning to the university he graduated and received a doctorate from, after working in Britain on software-related research at the Universities of Manchester (UMIST), London (Imperial College) and the GEC-Marconi Research Centre for 10 years.