Top Tech Ideas for Accelerating Inclusive Economic Growth in the Township Economy Revealed and Rewarded

Over the weekend of the 19th and 20th of June 2021, Silicon Cape and the U.S. Mission to South Africa hosted a virtual hackathon aimed at discovering digital solutions to accelerate inclusive economic growth for local businesses in the township economy. This was the third of four hackathons which form part of an initiative called Hackathons for South Africa: Digital Solutions for Real World Challenges. Finally, after much anticipation, the winning solution was announced on Sunday, the 27th of June.

Walking away with the R25,000 grand prize was Team Basket. Outlining their idea, team leader Esihle Vellem said: “We help street vendors and spaza shops buy fresh produce from small-scale farmers and wholesalers by providing them with an online application and an instant delivery service. With this model, we address issues such as running out of stock and having to close down the stand or buy from fellow vendors at a higher price, lack of quality control and the absence of an online stock management system to track orders. Plus, they benefit from pre-negotiated discounts, produce that is delivered with a quality assurance guarantee, and the ability to make bi-weekly purchases with safe delivery assurance.”

In addition to the cash prize, Team Basket have won a Silicon Cape membership valued at R1,600. With Silicon Cape being an ecosystem enabler for tech-enabled start-ups, the team will be connected with accelerators, mentors, and other relevant community members such as developers, angel investors and venture capitalists to help them take their solution to market. The team also took home $2000 in Amazon Web Services credits.

Scooping second place and the R15,000 prize was Soft Glitch, for their Commiploy concept, a gig opportunity platform that enables communities to purchase local products, access services, and apply for various odd jobs. Team leader, Shaqeel Less, explained that the platform is geared towards businesses, customers, and unemployed youth. “Our vision is to build up and sustain local businesses and provide opportunities for local communities to grow with them.”

Acting Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate General in Cape Town, Emily Shaffer, said: “This weekend, we were blown away by the innovative ideas presented. These digital solutions to real-world challenges will make a tangible difference to the many vital businesses that make up South Africa’s township economies. COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect on businesses, and solutions like those offered this weekend by young innovators demonstrate that through partnership and innovation, economic resilience is achievable. We look forward to following the journeys of these bright minds.”

Silicon Cape Director, Zimkhita Buwa, added: “We believe that tech can help change the world we live in and are delighted to have witnessed so many innovative solutions that address the challenges  faced by local businesses and communities. We hope that all the teams continue to hone their solutions for the good of South Africa’s vital township economy.”

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