#Hack.Jozi Challenge selects Joburg’s top ten digital ideas

Johannesburg, Tuesday 3 May 2016: The top ten of the 2016 #Hack.Jozi Challenge has been announced. The varied ideas include ways for parents to reduce screen time for their children, a free pick up and drop off laundry service and an online platform to upload or download building plans for quicker approval by local authorities.

#Hack.Jozi Challenge is a project of the City of Johannesburg and the JCSE (Joburg Centre for Software Engineering) at Wits University. Ravi Naidoo, executive director for Economic Development for the City of Johannesburg, says they were overwhelmed not only by the number of entries to the 2016 #Hack.Jozi Challenge but also by their quality.

He explains, “The 2016 shortlist of ten finalists is an impressive list of young people with new and innovative ideas in the digital arena. After a rigorous process that has been playing out over the past six weeks, we now have ten superb businesses which have fought through three rounds of the competition and have been judged on the technical feasibility of their venture, scalability and the wow-factor.”

“We have touched more than 100 entrepreneurs through this challenge. A demo day will be held on Friday, 13 May when all ten tech-preneurs will present their ideas that they have thrashed out with their peers and mentors during the course of the challenge.”

“We are also pleased to see that other government agencies such as the City of Cape Town and the Department of Water and Sanitation have taken a cue from the City of Joburg to embrace the digital era in their environments and encourage technology innovation as a way to address relevant problems and promote entrepreneurship.”

Feedback from participants has been extremely positive. Barend Craven, from TimeWise explains, “My  developer and I struggled for six months to solve one of the issues on our application. Prof Barry Dwolatzky of the JCSE suggested a solution in five minutes that solved our problem!”

Now, judges will have to make the difficult decision on which aspiring business will win R1 million and two runners up which will win R350 000 each. All three will be supported by a business mentor who will guide them on how best to use the prize money and further develop their idea into a successful profitable enterprise.

The top three winners of the 2016 #HackJozi Challenge will be announced on Thursday, 19 May 2016.

Potential tech-preneurs were called on earlier this year to develop technology solutions top10to everyday Jozi problems and enter the #Hack.Jozi Challenge.

The top one hundred entrants, all start-up entrepreneurs, attended a special entrepreneurship and business training boot camp geared to helping them develop their great digital ideas into possible business opportunities. The top 20 selected received additional business mentorship.

The top 10 will enjoy 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.

Its success in its launch year in 2015 saw the City of Johannesburg commit R5 million for the second #Hack.Jozi Challenge this year.

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

The city will not take any equity in any of the businesses.


Top ten contestants of #HackJozi Challenge 2016


Business Idea
Tuta-Me A mobile application that looks to connect tutors with students for tutoring services.
TimeWize Parental Control A tool for parents to address screen-time issues with their children and their Android devices.
Mensch An online marketplace where the demand for sound, pragmatic and sustainable advice by businesses is matched to the supply of high quality business experts from South Africa’s top business schools and business consultancies.
LCERT LCERT (Low Cost Educational Robotics Toy) Kit, which includes hardware, software and activities.
Spotless A pickup and drop-off of laundry service that ensures that clothes are cleaned and dry-cleaned to the highest standards.
Advicement Building an online platform which aims to automate the functions of a traditional financial advisor.
DUEPROP An integrated online due-diligence portal, available on multiple platforms and designed for all property sector stakeholders.
eSubmit An online platform on which building plans and other related documentation can be uploaded and/or downloaded for the purposes of obtaining building approval from local authorities.
Gradrr This system prepares and automatically marks multiple choice questions. Advanced features are being offered to educational institutions to analyse and report on the information.
TechnoVera Smart lockers that reduce the average waiting time for patients collecting chronic medication at primary healthcare collection facilities.

Top twenty finalists


esdsa.com (South Africa’s Enterprise and Supplier Development Landscape)
TimeWize Parental Control
The Black Market
The Exemplify Decision-Making Tool
My Streets App
ADverntage App
Low Cost Educational Robotics Toy (LCERT)
V.L.S. (Vehicle Licensing System)
Syamoo App

Countdown to find Jozi’s top three digital entrepreneurs begins

Johannesburg, Wednesday 6 April 2016: Well over 400 aspiring tech-preneurs have submitted their original digital ideas that they believe will make Joburg a better city for the 2016 #HackJozi Challenge. Of these, some one hundred contestants have been selected and are undergoing the first training and mentoring leg of the challenge.

The #Hack.Jozi Challenge is a boot camp for start-up entrepreneurs that was launched by the City of Johannesburg and the JCSE (Joburg Centre for Software Engineering) at Wits University for the first time last year.

The first chapter of this initiative in 2015, which is now being mirrored by the City of Cape Town, showed how entrepreneurship in the broad area of digital technology can be identified and unlocked by providing meaningful support. In turn, employment and economic opportunities in the City are created.

Ravi Naidoo, Executive Director for Economic Development for the City of Johannesburg says 53 ideas representing teams including 109 people have been selected from the 414 entries. “Over 40% of the entries we received seek to promote economic development in our city; some 22% are ideas around smart infrastructure; 5.5% relate to boosting our public space and tourism offerings; and 30% of the entries are in the general category of the challenge.”

The participants now undergo the playoffs which will select 20 teams, then the final ten and ultimately the top three will be selected.

The first prize is R1-million and there are two runners-up prizes of R350 000 which will be managed by the JCSE together with a business mentor to ensure the prize money takes the winning idea beyond startup into a lucrative enterprise.

Says Naidoo: “We called on the tech-savvy people who live, work and play in the City of Joburg to submit their ideas for using technology to improve our city. The excellent response shows us that our people have great digital and technology ideas. It is important to support accelerating them into viable enterprises.”

“It is extremely encouraging to see how the #HackJozi Challenge has escalated in popularity since its foundation last year. We look forward to measuring over time how many jobs and economic opportunities are created as a direct result of this intervention.”


City of Joburg offers R5m in startup support for Jozi digital innovators

Thursday, 25 February 2016: With prizes valued at R5m worth of support including R1m for the winner and R350 000 for two runners up and a boot camp for the top 100 ideas, you might just want to share your great digital ideas that can transform your community. The City of Johannesburg (The Department of Economic Development) and Wits University through the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) have partnered to make the second #Hack.Jozi Challenge possible.


The #Hack.Jozi Challenge is a boot camp for startup entrepreneurs and aims to contribute towards fostering skills, innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital technology space.


Ravi Naidoo, Executive Director for Economic Development for the city, who is overseeing the competition explains, “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.”


No issue is too big or small. Issues that can be addressed include everything from access to healthcare to affordable education. Entries should address challenges in the following categories:

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


“If you have an idea about how you can use technology to help your community and grow the economy, we want to hear from you,” says Naidoo.

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, which will be followed by a strict pre-screening to be conducted by a technical team. A committee will select the winners.

The City of Johannesburg has committed R5 million in support to fund the competition and accelerate early stage ICT startups. The winners will be selected after two elimination rounds.  The City will not take any equity in any of the businesses.

The top 100 contestants will be offered after-hours entrepreneurship and business training that will help them to refine the ideas. These contestants will be hosted and mentored in Jozi’s digital innovation hub in the heart of Braamfontein, where they will have access to various resources, mentors, advisors as well as partners to make their vision of helping their community a reality.

The top 20 will be offered additional business mentorship and all who make the top 10 will win a one year membership of the ICT Hub in Braamfontein. The hub is an initiative hosted by Wits University under the leadership of Professor Barry Dwolatzky.

The ideas that won in 2015
Mayor of the City of Joburg Parks Tau, Ravi Naidoo Exec Director for Economic Development City of Joburg, Prof Barry Dwolatzky director JCSE and winner of Hack.Jozi 2015 Desmond Mongwe

Mayor of the City of Joburg Parks Tau, Ravi Naidoo Exec Director for Economic Development City of Joburg, Prof Barry Dwolatzky director JCSE and winner of Hack.Jozi 2015 Desmond Mongwe

R1 million: Desmond Mongwe MoWallet

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


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.


R 350 000: Percy Lawrence Move this stuff

A logistics application which provides cost effective removal and transport options.

Winner of Hack.Jozi 2015 Desmond Mongwe of MoWallet

Winner of Hack.Jozi 2015 Desmond Mongwe of MoWallet

Ravi Naidoo Exec Director for Economic Development City of Joburg

Ravi Naidoo Exec Director for Economic Development City of Joburg

Prof Barry Dwolatzky director JCSE

Prof Barry Dwolatzky director JCSE


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