Hackathon showcases local problem-solving capabilities

Digital Gauteng City Region (GCR)
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Following on from their first successful hackathon in November, Empire Partner Foundation’s (EPF) Tech Hub closed out the year with a successful second digital hackathon held on 12 – 13 December that focused primarily on solving complex challenges that municipalities face today.

The Digital Gauteng City Region (GCR) is a platform that brings together existing and new information, opportunities and useful resources via an e-platform to solve challenges at a municipal level utilising technology as an enabler. The platform provides a digital ecosystem where innovators can deeply understand challenges in real-time in order to develop comprehensive, tech-focused solutions.

The focus on local government solutions has been emphasised following an enthusiastic pledge of support by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) towards the Digital GCR platform. In his keynote speech at the first hackathon, Xolile George, Chief Executive Officer of SALGA, left the developers inspired after reiterating the impact that technology can have in improving local government planning and service delivery.

The hackathon provided the developers with a number of problem statements allowing participants free reign to innovatively solve these complex challenges. “We thought about how we can use this hackathon as a springboard for innovative digital solutions that will have a real impact on local government. We explored how we can use tech to improve the communication between municipalities and residents to ensure that residents participate in the development of their own municipalities and that municipalities provide a standardised level of service to residents across the country,” says Akivan Kemraj, CEO of the EPF Tech Hub.

The developer team that came up with the most innovative solution consisted of Sanele Langa, Remonn van Niekerk and Thulani Langa who worked together to build a fully functioning platform that integrated USSD technology for residents to communicate with their municipalities. They took home the grand prize of R10 000 in cash along with a masterclass on business model innovation that will inject some critical thinking and associated consideration for the monetisation of any technology solution. The remaining four teams split the difference of the R24 000 cash prize and nobody left the hackathon empty handed.

“We recognize the importance of creating opportunity and incorporating trends shaping the future. We want to empower the young developers of today to become leaders for South Africa and the African continent,” concludes Akivan.

The Empire Partner Foundation Tech Hub is a non-profit organisation that was started by a group of young South Africans who are committed to finding innovative ways to use emerging tech to solve the socio-economic challenges that are prevalent in our country.

For more information on this hackathon as well as future events, our EPF Tech Hub address is: www.empirepartnerfoundation.org/hackathon

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