As COVID-19 intensifies in South Africa, innovators are also increasing their efforts towards developing solutions. Many are turning to Hackathons (a portmanteau word created by combining “hack” and “marathon”) to crowdsource solutions. In the next few days, South Africans will participate in Hackathons that are designed to develop all sorts of solutions. Capitec Bank as well as Startupbootcamp will host separate hackathons that are designed to improve the procurement of services from small businesses by the government as well as solutions for the post-COVID-19 world.
The Capitec Bank virtual hackathon will kick off from Monday, 29 June with a live stream. The event is limited to ten teams of up to five members each. To enter, teams need to demonstrate a functioning tech solution – but not everyone on the team needs to be a developer.
From the start of the hackathon, teams will have 21 days to develop their concepts, with daily feedback from their mentors. On Friday, 10 July, the teams will pitch their solutions to the judging panel, with the winners announced on 17 July. To enter, teams need a computer; webcam and mic; and fast, stable internet connection. Teams can enter by emailing [email protected], with a description of the team, the motivation behind entering and the big idea.
Startupbootcamp together with the UK-South Africa Tech Hub, a UK government initiative, will be hosting the Disrupt COVID-19 Digital Hackathon. This hackathon is designed to develop solutions to further advance economic inclusion and build resilience. The hackathon organisers are calling upon startups and innovators to develop procurement solutions for South African small businesses. Innovators can apply on the following link: https://forms.gle/kABasD4XgSHDDyVj7. Registration for this hackathon closes on the 28th of June 2020. The Hackathon will happen on the following dates: 6 July- 9 July 2020. Participating startups will be notified on the 1st of July 2020.
Startups will have the opportunity to work with the UK Government’s Global Digital Marketplace Programme which works with five partner countries across the world to help them design out corruption through user-centered approaches to procurement.
Winning teams will also receive ZAR 15,000 in cash prizes, Amazon AWS credits, logistics support, membership to the Silicon Cape Network, and other support. This will assist those teams to implement Pilots and Proof of Concepts for the solution with the challenge partners.
In the past hackathons have been instrumental in kickstarting innovative solutions. Some however have failed to deliver on promises. This open innovation process is still important to widen the pool of solution providers as we fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.