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Winners In The GeoJozi Challenge Announced And Awarded R300k

Three young Jozi developers have been rewarded for their compelling digital ideas that will help the city solve its street address issues in the first GeoJozi Challenge.

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Three young Jozi developers have been rewarded for their compelling digital ideas that will help the city solve its street address issues in the first GeoJozi Challenge.

The awards were made on international Geographic Information Systems (GIS) day, a worldwide initiative for users of geographic information systems technology to demonstrate applications that are making a difference in our society.

The absence of visible accurate street addresses and the lack of any street addresses in some areas is holding back Johannesburg in its drive to become a smart city. The City of Joburg, in partnership with Wits University’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) and mapping software company, Esri South Africa called on Johannesburg developers aged 30 years and younger to help. From 80 entries, ten finalists were selected and trained.

Related: GeoJozi Developer Challenge Selects Top Ideas To Solve The City’s Address Accuracy Issues

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Thapelo Sekwena who won the challenge earned R150k for an app that uses gaming and crowdsourcing to reward users for submitting places that need addressing or validation.

Methembe Dlamini walked away with R100k for his app which allows residents to confirm their correct address and to report any issues to alert the city as well as other citizens such as high accident zones, potholes or high crime spots. Absalom Mpanze earned R50k for his app that takes advantage of someone’s unique position to generate a code for that position, and then allocates an address as a code.

Director for Corporate Geo-Informatics for the City of Johannesburg, Marcelle Hattingh, explained: “We had three goals for this challenge which were achieved: We wanted to emphasise the importance of a street addresses to have a high functioning inclusive society; to demonstrate the power of location-based technology and to develop GIS talent in our city.”

Prof. Barry Dwolatzky, Director of JCSE said: “The top three applied innovation, creativity and technology to their solutions. We look forward to seeing them grow, creating jobs for others and helping our city.  They also win a year of membership with the Digital Innovation Zone at the Tshimologong Precinct in Braamfontein which provides working space and mentoring.”

Hattingh says, “Street addresses that are not clearly displayed or not displayed at all make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to deliver essential services to residents of the city. An accurate visible street address can save a life. The finalists have now completed an intensive period of GIS training, as well as professional software practice, start-up and business modelling and social media training. This is a foundation that will propel their careers going forward.”

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About the winners

Winner: Thapelo Lebo Sekwena is junior software developer at SAAB who holds a B.Sc. degree in computer science and mathematics from Northwest University. Partner Ganwell Banda also holds a B.Sc. degree.

He explains, “My app is called Redeem Jozi and it uses gaming and crowdsourcing. Once you open the app, it gets your location and then gives you a set of points without addresses in your region. It offers rewards for places that need addresses or validation which the user completes. Once you fill in these addresses, you get rewarded with 100MB of data if you are the first to complete 10 locations within 30 days.  My next step is to refine the app and then I am going to focus on some of my other app development ideas.” 

2nd: Methembe Dlamini is a Masters student in Computer Science at the University of Johannesburg.

Methembe describes his app, “FindMe is used on a mobile device. Once you register, you confirm your home address and this cross references with city data to confirm that your address is in fact correct. This allows you and the city to confirm your correct address. You are able to report any issues that need attention such a high accident zone, potholes or high crime spots. The app will alert the city and other citizens of these issues. I want my idea to be implemented to the benefit of the citizens of Johannesburg and other cities. It also allows you to call for help in emergencies – ambulance, accidents, fire or a natural disaster. The competition was intense because the other competitors were of a very high standard and we did a great deal of training to increase our knowledge of GIS.”

3rd: Absalom Mpanze is passionate about technology and currently works as a consultant at Standard Bank as an analyst developer. 

Absalom explains, “I developed an app which takes advantage of your unique position to generate a code for that position and in that way it allocates an address as a code. I needed to upgrade my skills to solve the GeoJozi Challenge. The training and the competition helped me to learn how to develop a user-friendly android app. It was very competitive and the other developers were more experienced than I am. I really had to raise my game to reach their level. I now want to start my own business and implement my idea for public use.”

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FNB Sets Its Sights On Growing Female Entrepreneurs In South Africa

First National Bank looks to grow women entrepreneurship in South Africa.

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FNB has set its sights on growing women owned and led businesses in South Africa, a commitment that has seen the bank enter into partnerships to facilitate mentorship for some of the most promising enterprises.

The bank has a good foundation to build on, as 38% of all new business accounts opened with FNB Business are either led or owned by women, highlighting an already established entrepreneurial momentum.

“We are cognisant of the fact that neither government nor corporate South Africa are going to be the sole sources of job creation. We therefore have an obligation to support and grow entrepreneurship. Partnerships such as the one entered into with International Finance Corporation (IFC) enables us to assist in developing women owned business,” says Michelle Geraghty, Head of Women in Business at FNB Business.

Over the last few years, FNB has, through a partnership with the Vumela Fund, assisted businesses such asSAIL, a leading skills and training institute that offers a range of qualifications to the public sector, and Toni Glass who produce a collection of world class tea, to not only scale effectively, but to bolster each of the business’s offering to market.

Related: Watch List: 50 Black African Women Entrepreneurs To Watch

“Our approach is to, much like we have done with the likes of Sail and Tony Glass, enable qualifying women owned businesses in their growth curve by offering help that includes transact, lending, investing and insuring solutions. This will include facilitating the registration of the business online via the FNB registrations system which links to CIPC, to Instant accounting and payroll solutions aimed at reducing operating costs for the business. This will also extend to support in the incubation stage of selected businesses through Vumela. We will carry this right through to private equity funding,” explains Geraghty.

Vumela was established as an innovative model that is aimed at filling the gaps in the current SME funding and support landscape. While Vumela is an SME growth fund, it also functions as the bank’s primary Enterprise Development and Supply Development vehicle, able to fulfil both SME funding and growth needs, and corporate ESD requirements, avenues that FNB will be making use of.

FNB also intends on tracking jobs created through these initiatives to ensure a trickledown effect that not only benefits the business owner but also increases the overall number of women participating in business in South Africa.

“The need to grow the number of women in business is one that if done correctly, can address many of the disparities and anguish that women continuously face. Access to fair opportunities to grow their businesses and in turn make a real impact on the South African economy,” concludes Geraghty.

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Great Bunch Of Entrepreneurs Make Top 10 In The Workspace/MiWay Competition

The top 10 in The Workspace/MiWay entrepreneur competition have been selected.

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After an intense four-month process, the top 10 contenders in The Workspace/MiWay Entrepreneur competition have been notified that they’re through to the next round. These entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses to the judges, who will then whittle down the number of contenders to five, from which the winner will be chosen.

“There has been great excitement over the past four months. As every single new entry came in, we would clap our hands and cheer,” said Mari Schourie, CEO of The Workspace. It was a tough job judging all the entries to reach the top 20 submissions, she said, before having to find the top 10.

“We’ve had really strong entries submitted by people with good business knowledge,” said Schourie. “You can see the willingness to work hard and the great amount of effort they have put into their initiatives.”

Schourie said judges saw “wonderful ideas and fabulous business minds and quality people with big dreams shine through the entries”.

The top 10 are:

  1. Loyal 1
  2. Dwyka Mining Services
  3. Minatlou Trading 251
  4. Sindis Best for all
  5. Convergence Three
  6. Zinde Zinde
  7. Matla Risk Management
  8. Artsort Trading
  9. Iconic Talent Agency
  10. Nthedikgwadi Transport Services

Related: How to Name (Or In Some Cases, Rename) Your Company

Schourie said she wished she could tell President Cyril Ramaphosa, who supports the growth of small business as an economic driver, “the ideas and the passion that these business owners have is inspiring and should be focused on more”.

The prize on offer – worth over R350 000 – will help set-up the winning entrepreneur for a period of 12 months, giving them a boost to help build their business.

Morné Stoltz, Head of Business Insurance at MiWay, said the theme that ran throughout the entries was that entrepreneurs wanted to make a difference and contribute to positive change in South Africa. “Many of the submissions focused on technical and developmental fields,” he said.

“Entrepreneurs recognise gaps in the market and see the potential for growth. Getting into the top 10 was not at all easy.”

Stoltz said South Africa had a “great bunch of entrepreneurs” and that standing together to give them a platform to launch was an exciting opportunity. “To grow our economy we need to help with skills development and give whatever assistance we can,” he said.

Part of the finalists’ road to the top includes a skills development programme for the top 10 entrants ahead of their important date to pitch their business plans to the judges.

As Schourie pointed out, it is vital to encourage South African citizens to act on their dreams and passions because “it can be a great success; they just need make that leap”.

Dates to watch:

  • 21 June: Top 10 skills development programme
  • 3 July: Top 10 pitches
  • 6 July: Top 5 announcement
  • 20 July: Final five workshops
  • 10 August: Final five pitches
  • 13 September: Winner announced

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Top 22 Start-ups Chosen For Final Selection Days – Startupbootcamp Africa

After receiving 1,004 applications from all over the world, the SBC team in conjunction with the programme’s corporate sponsors have narrowed the applicants down to 22 top-tier tech start-ups that will be invited to the Final Selection Days on July 11th and 12th at PwC’s headquarters in Cape Town.

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SBC Africa received 1,004 total applications from 77 countries on 5 continents. The start-ups that applied were exceptionally impressive and have gained more traction in the market than the applicants for the 2017 cohort. The talent in Africa is phenomenal and the corporate sponsors and SBC team dedicated 2 weeks to narrow it down to the Top 22 to be invited to Final Selection Days.

“It’s been an intense process due to the exceptionally high calibre of start-ups applying to the programme from across the continent,” states Philip Kiracofe, co-founder and CEO of Startupbootcamp Africa. “From 1,004 applications we have managed to narrow down to 22 of the most creative teams tackling daunting African problems. One of the key differentiators for start-ups that participate in the SBC Accelerator is the opportunity to secure commercial contracts with our sponsors. In order to make it onto our Top 22, each start-up has been chosen by at least 2 sponsors for potential proof of concept projects. The 2018 cohort is already shaping up to be a milestone moment for Africa.”

Related: How to Name (Or In Some Cases, Rename) Your Company

Zachariah George, co-founder and Chief Investment Officer of Startupbootcamp Africa added, “The investment community across Africa is taking note of the significant traction and access to market that being an alumni of a global accelerator programme like ours provides. We are excited to further galvanize venture capital funding into tech startups through significant de-risking of business models and customer validation with our corporate partners globally.”

From the 22 teams that have been invited to the SBC Africa Final Selection Days, 10 will be selected to join the 2018 cohort. Over the span of the two Final Selection Days, the startups in attendance will have the opportunity to present their pitches to high-profile corporate sponsors, investors, thought leaders and industry experts and will have the chance to sit down with mentors and sponsors alike. At the end of Day Two, the Top 10 will be announced and will be welcomed to the Cape Town-based Accelerator that kicks off in August. During the 3-month period, they will have the opportunity to scale at an incredible pace and seal pilot and proof of concept deals with the corporate sponsors to the programme.

The SBC Africa Accelerator is anchored and endorsed by heavyweight corporate sponsors RCS, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Nedbank, Old Mutual and PwC.

“We’ve seen an increase in the quality of start-ups applying to the programme. The awareness of the value of the programme has increased and the success of the first year of the bootcamp speaks for itself. More mature start-ups are also seeing the benefits of participating in Startupbootcamp Africa,” comments Stanley Gabriel, Head of Innovation at Old Mutual.

The Top 22 start-ups invited to the Final Selection Days come from 7 different countries. The numbers are as follows: 8 from Nigeria, 5 from South Africa, 3 from Uganda, 2 from the Ivory Coast, 2 from Kenya, 1 from Ghana and 1 from Ireland.

Related: Entrepreneurship Is All About Overcoming Obstacles

The names of the start-ups invited to Final Selection Days by country:

  • Nigeria: Bankly Technologies, Biyabot, CredPal, FriendsVow, Kudimoney Bank, Medikal HMS, NebulaPay, and ZEEZZ Planet Solutions.
  • South Africa: Brandbookalytics Big Data, ifileme, LÜLA, Prospa, and Akiba Digital
  • Uganda: CoinPesa Ltd, RoundBob Uganda, and Swipe 2 Pay
  • Ivory Coast: Digitech Group, and DISTRICASH
  • Kenya: Kakbima, and MPost
  • Ghana: Inclusive Financial Technologies
  • Ireland: Pago Payments

It has been an incredible 3-month scouting journey for SBC Africa and now that the Top 22 have been announced, the Final Selection Days is the only hurdle left before the Accelerator officially kicks off on 13 August 2018.

There are high expectations for the Top 10 of 2018 and if the quality of the start-ups at this stage is any indication, 2018 is set to be a great success for the African tech and innovation ecosystem.

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