Building a Geek Culture of Sustainable Innovation
KIZITO OKECHUKWU | DECEMBER 3, 2019
Photo Caption : Youth participating in the Hackathon hosted at 22 On Sloane
This past weekend, the annual Geekulcha hackathon (GKHack19) took place at 22 on Sloane startup campus. Led by Mixo Ngoveni, it focuses on boosting and sustaining a strong geek culture in South Africa.
The 42-hour hackathon started on Friday evening and ended on Sunday afternoon, seeing over 200 sleep-deprived techies working non-stop throughout the weekend. Basically, it challenges local techies and innovators to build with capacity-based, market-relevant sustainability in mind and also helps them to understand and outline policy and regulations in the process.
The commercial uptake of the solutions post-hackathon is the end goal and, as such, the process is set to produce Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The five focus areas for GKHack19 were:
1. Revitalization of Township Economy
2. Civic Tech (Open Data, Open Innovation, Smart Citizenship)
3. Sustainable Development Goals
4. GeoData and Mapping Challenge
5. War on Tech
6. Financial Inclusion
The broader objectives of the hackathon are to:
– Instil more maker/developer confidence, especially amongst females;
– Gather young local talent, subject matter experts and industry leaders in one room for solutions and skills development;
– Channel and align industry standards and best practices;
– Develop data skills and present local tools, resources and platforms for innovation development and enable Smart Citizenship;
– Get techies and general citizens to build solutions that require less government buy-in and dependence;
– Offer a platform to test the technical competencies of young geeks by offering them the opportunity to solve challenges;
– Offer potential employers the opportunity to develop youth employability skills via experiential learning.
GKHack19 produced three finalists, who focused on Food Tech, Human Capital Tech and Water Tech respectively, with the Food Tech geek taking top honours and receiving a free six-month incubation programme at 22 on Sloane.
It was very refreshing and inspiring to see lots of young, highly-motivated and excited minds getting their geek on with their peers and building innovative ideas with a minimum value proposition – in just 48 hours!
Under the auspices of South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I was invited to visit the East Asian country last week by the Korea-Africa foundation to discuss and engage on sustainable ways to build a stronger Korea-Africa relationship, which was established last year.
The annual Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) at 22 on Sloane closed off last week with Edcon, in partnership with Proudly SA, hosting 12 up-and-coming fashion designers from its Design Innovation Challenge to showcase their stunning creations.
This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) will run from 18-24 November at 22 ON SLOANE – Africa’s largest startup campus, which offers over 100 disruptive startups and SME’s a platform to scale. Various ecosystem role-players across South Africa will also host events within their communities, throughout the week.