Help Find Solutions to Real World Challenges via Hackathons

Mika Stanvliet
31 Oct 2019

The United States Embassy in South Africa has selected Silicon Cape, in partnership with HackOn, GirlHype and The Loudhailer, to implement the project, Hackathons for South Africa: Digital Solutions for Real World Challenges.

Consisting of four hackathons over a one-year period, with two in Cape Town and two in Johannesburg, the project seeks to build technical, problem-solving, creative thinking, and collaborative skills among emerging software developers to strengthen their employability and help drive economic growth. At the same time, the hackathons will create innovative digital solutions to key social, environmental, health, and economic challenges as well as strengthen people-to-people ties between the United States and South Africa through exchanges of information, experiences, and expertise.

The first hackathon will kick off on Saturday 23rd November 2019 in Cape Town and will focus on gender-based violence. Each event will see between 30 and 50 participants – including emerging software developers, IT professionals, trainers, civil society organisations, academics and professionals with expertise relevant to the theme – coming together to develop solutions to these issues.  The purpose of each hackathon is to upskill attendees on the topics at hand and introduce them to new technologies and information to better understand the subject matter.

A grand total of R160,000 will be up for grabs, with the winners and runners up walking away with prizes and spot prizes being given away at each event. What’s more, Silicon Cape, HackOn, GirlHype and The Loudhailer will help to bring the best solutions to life by partnering with businesses, corporate social responsibility programmes and angel investors to provide them with additional mentoring and/or seed grant funds. Amazon Web Services will also be giving the winning team access to the low cost, easy-to-use infrastructure needed to scale and grow via the AWS Activate programme which includes benefits like $10,000 worth of AWS Promotional Credits, valid for two years; AWS Business Support valued at $5,000 which is valid for up to one year and a solution architect technical whiteboarding session.

Will Stevens, Deputy Consul General at the U.S. Consulate in Cape Town says: “As the cradle of the fourth industrial revolution, the United States understands the tremendous impact that crowd-sourcing and digital creativity can have in solving the tough problems in our societies. That is why we are so proud to sponsor Silicon Cape’s upcoming series of Hackathons in South Africa. We believe that these programmes will bring top coders, young entrepreneurs and civic activists together to help address tough issues in South African society.”

“We are incredibly proud to have been selected and this honour further proves that the Cape is indeed considered a hub for innovation. We look forward to seeing the solutions that emerge from the hackathons and how they can benefit South Africans,” adds Silicon Cape Chairperson, Dr Sumarie Roodt. 

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