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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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Global Guide For Entrepreneurs, Innovators Launches In Johannesburg

Startup Guide partners with SAP Next-Gen, Tshimologong Precinct to bring global guidebook to Johannesburg innovation ecosystem; calls for nominations.

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Calling all entrepreneurs, accelerators, innovators, co-working spaces and experts in the City of Gold: Startup Guide, the leading global guide for start-ups in high-growth innovation hubs in Europe, the US and Middle East, is open to nominations in Johannesburg.

Founded in 2014, Startup Guide is a creative content and publishing company that produces guidebooks and tools to help entrepreneurs to connect to communities and resources in the leading start-up cities around the world. Its global footprint covers some of the most innovative and thriving start-up ecosystems in the US, Europe and the Middle East, including those of London, New York, Berlin, Tel Aviv, and Stockholm. After launching in Cape Town earlier in the year, Startup Guide now moves to Johannesburg.

According to Sissel Hansen, Founder and CEO of Startup Guide, South Africa’s largest city is emerging as a key innovation hub for start-ups.

“Johannesburg has recently emerged as a growing ecosystem for start-ups and entrepreneurs in Africa, particularly in the tech industry. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to create a comprehensive guide of resources for aspiring founders wanting to do business in South Africa’s largest city.”

Startup Guide Johannesburg was launched at Wits University’s Tshimologong Precinct, one of Johannesburg’s newest high-tech addresses in the vibrant inner-city district of Braamfontein. Tshimologong, which means “new beginnings” in Setswana, focuses on the incubation of digital entrepreneurs, commercialisation of research and the development of high-level digital skills for students, working professionals and unemployed youth. Lesley Williams, CEO of Tshimologong Precinct, says: “South Africa is fast-becoming a go-to source for innovation, especially in the tech sector. We believe the introduction of a dedicated resource for the startup ecosystem in Johannesburg will unlock significant opportunities for innovation hubs such as ours to more easily connect with entrepreneurs, experts and other roleplayers, ultimately providing a more supportive environment for growth.”

Related: Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

Startup Guide has partnered with SAP Next-Gen, a purpose driven innovation university and community for the SAP ecosystem enabling companies, partners and universities to connect and innovate with purpose linked to the UN Sustainable Goals for Development. Ann Rosenberg, Senior Vice President and Head of Global SAP Next-Gen says:

“We strive to connect digital innovators in an open innovation community to drive the future success and growth of industries through the use of technology. As we have witnessed in other high-innovation cities around the world, the introduction of knowledge resources – supported by opportunities for collaboration and partnership in an open ecosystem – enhances the overall success of entire start-up communities. Johannesburg’s world-famous energy and business acumen will greatly benefit from the launch of Startup Guide Johannesburg and the support of industry partners, including SAP Next-Gen and the Tshimologong Precinct.”

Cathy Smith, Managing Director of SAP Africa, adds that the partnership with Startup Guide aligns well with the company’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. “As an organisation we are committed to achieving the high ambitions set out by the SDGs. However, it is virtually impossible to do so alone: the concept of partnership with likeminded purpose-driven organisations and initiatives is vital not only to realising the SDGs but to foster a greater and more inclusive innovation ecosystem in Johannesburg and across the African continent.”

Nominations for the Johannesburg edition of Startup Guide are now open. If you know a start-up, entrepreneur, programme, space, accelerator, or experts and would like to see them featured in the book, please visit https://startupguide.com/shop/startup-guide-johannesburg and submit your nomination.

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

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Aspirations For SMMEs In South Africa

Research released earlier this year, revealed that there are only 250 000 formal SMMEs in South Africa.

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Entrepreneurs who have started up a business over the past 10 years have done so in an environment that has been largely negative, with slow economic growth and an unstable political landscape. “So, all in all, a very difficult setting to launch, grow or even maintain a business,” says Bizmod MD, Anne-Marie Pretorius.

Pretorius says that many entrepreneurs who operate in South Africa can be forgiven for often wondering if the slog is worth it. Yet they continue – despite economic uncertainty, strikes, retrenchments and downscaling.  “It is this tenacity that sets entrepreneurs apart, and I often wonder how much more successful they would be in an easier and more supportive environment.”

Below, Pretorius shares her ideal pro-entrepreneur outlook for the future:

  • Greater policy certainty on all key government policies from land reform to regulations surrounding labour broking.
  • Being able to do away with bad policy faster. An example of where this did not happen was in the changes of visa requirements; leading to an unnecessary dent in our tourism industry, an industry that should be targeted for growth.
  • Lower compliance requirements for companies with a turnover under R50 million. The cost of compliance for smaller enterprises is significantly higher in comparison to their income and the cash they have available. Smaller companies need simpler frameworks where compliance is required. A portal similar to SARS e-filing, which makes compliance across various pieces of legislation clear and simple, would be ideal.
  • The Labour Relations Act is a key piece of legislation that has done a lot to protect the rights of the employee. It has attempted to balance the power relationship between employee and employer. Some innovation is however required in labour practices, allowing for mutually beneficial flexible working relationships that keep pace with the changing work environment.
  • Buy small, buy South African! A framework whereby large corporations and government would have to allocate a certain minimum percentage to buying from smaller local companies. There are encouraging signs that this is happening more, however this is still not an ingrained practice. In addition, consumers should be more informed on what items are South African produced, in order for them to be encouraged to purchase locally.
  • Easier access to funds enabling entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. There are currently a few options available, but all of the options require significant governance and red tape. Whilst this is understandable from the lenders perspective, it does hamper the agility and growth of companies.
  • Make good financial governance aspirational, attractive and easily accessible.
  • The process for tenders to be corruption free and fair, enabling more companies to add value.
  • Pay SMME’s on 30 days or less. Enormous pressure exists on smaller companies when not paid on time. They simply do not have the cash flow to carry a debtor’s book of 90 days and this inevitably hampers their growth.
  • Tax SMME’s at a lower tax rate. Profit tax should be lowered in order to drive entrepreneurship.
  • Creating a platform that makes it simpler to employ young individuals with potential and create support programmes for SMMEs to upskill them. There is a significant financial and time investment required to train a young person, which can make SMME’s sometimes wary to do so.

“If we are able to make only some of these ideals a reality, there is no doubt that we would see economic growth, entrepreneurial growth, and more employment opportunities,” concludes Pretorius.

Related: A – Z Easy Small Business Ideas

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South African Students Win R50 000 In The Universities Business Challenge

Students from Mangosuthu University of Technology beat 500 students from 13 different universities across South Africa.

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The Overlings from Mangosuthu University of Technology are the 2018 winners of Cognity Advisory’s Universities Business Challenge (UBC), sponsored by General Electric (GE). The winning team of four students are walking away with R50,000 to turn their business idea into reality.

Launched in July this year, the UBC has seen 500 students from 13 different universities across South Africa participate in a business simulation competition designed to develop entrepreneurship skills.

When the competition launched, all teams were challenged to form virtual companies and to virtually manufacture and sell bicycles.

The final 10 teams were from the University of Limpopo, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Vaal University of Technology, University of KwaZulu-Natal and North-West University.

During the two-day final, the teams played six rounds of simulations. Each simulation gave the teams a chance to re-evaluate their progress and better certain areas that needed improving. The winning team realised during one of their simulations that in order to maximise profits they would need to introduce two new products and market it differently from their initial product. They paid special attention to their customer’s needs. 

The aim of the UBC was designed to tackle South Africa’s high level of youth unemployment. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) announced that South Africa’s official unemployment rate increased by 0.3 of a percentage point to 27.5% in the third quarter of 2018.

Nkosinathi Sokhulu from the winning team said, “Even though we didn’t have a great presentation we made the most profit. This experience taught us a lot about ourselves and business. Most of the decisions that we made came from serious debates. We learnt that market research is crucial when starting a business. We learnt that marketing starts and ends with the customer.”

Related: 20 South African Side-Hustles You Can Start This Weekend

“Based on this market research information we realised that it was important for us to introduce two new products and this, in addition to the main product we were selling, helped us to maximise profits. We saw an opportunity to add more products and it paid off” said Mbali Tshozi.

Tope Toogun, development advisor and CEO of Cognity Advisory said, “All the teams showed tremendous promise and I was very impressed by their levels of engagement with one another and their tenacity.”

“We really want to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary skills to not only start a business but to run it effectively. While we have selected one winner, our hope is that each team has benefitted by having learned the skills needed in the workplace.”

“The competition is designed to develop the ‘soft skills’ that are important for those wanting to set up their own business or simply be successful at work. With rising unemployment and ongoing talent shortages, having these skills is crucial for those wanting to get a job.”

The UBC, now in its second year in South Africa, will continue into its third year in 2019 and will run as the Africa Enterprise Challenge (AEC).

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