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On Saturday November 28, 2020, the University of Johannesburg’s Technopreneurship Centre in collaboration with the Pan African Information Communication Technology Centre (PAICTA) will convene over 100 of the university’s students from various fields in a daring bid to get them to collaborate virtually on innovative technology solutions to some of South Africa’s everyday challenges.

The Hackathon Challenge is a joint venture between the University of Johannesburg’s Technopreneurship Centre and PAICTA, whose goal is to empower and inspire youth to acquire technical skills that will help them prepare for emerging job or entrepreneurial opportunities, so they are ready to disrupt the market place and grow the economy. It offers a great platform for the participants to learn while experimenting and having fun, and it will also help them improve their problem-solving skills and develop their entrepreneurial capability.

Sonwabo Mdwaba the President of PAICTA says,

  “As PAICTA we are excited to be in a position where we are able to serve our stakeholders,

                            we are creating a platform for the youth to collaborate, display their creativity skills, 

                            innovativeness, while instilling the culture of collaboration in coming up with impactful 

                           solutions which are critical for the success of entrepreneurs on our continent. 

The programme begins at 07h00 on Saturday November 28, 2020, when the students will be grouped, and each team given a Problem Statement. Working with specially selected Mentors who have technical expertise, they will be expected to develop a prototype using the Design Thinking process.

The Mentors’ experience spans across the spectrum from academia to private companies such as CISCO, FNB, BMW, Iderto, HERE Technologies, Custodient Advisory Services and DFA, social enterprises such as Geekculcha as well as world-renowned research organisation, CSIR. They will be reinforced by Mentors from UJ and Nelson Mandela University.

Judging the students’ presentations will be Ms. Doreen Mokoena CEO of CyberSec Clinique,  Mr. Muzi Ntombela, CIO at the Centre for Public Service Innovation, Mr. Tiyani Nghonyamai, COO of Geekulcha, Dr Mpho Raborife, Senior Lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, Mr. Gerald O’Sullivan, a Solutions Architect and I.T. professional at IT Works, and Dr Naomi Isabirye, Head of Information and Communication Technology at OPECS (PTY) and PAICTA Advisory Board member.

Judges will select the Top 5 teams from the initial presentations who will go into the final round from which the winning team and the two runner-up teams will be announced. There will be great prizes up for grabs varying from software training and exam certification from Huawei, CISCO Networking Academy courses, Siyafunda CTC training programs and digital devices, Deviera software training certification courses plus accessories from SAP.

Ronny Koena Mabokela Head of Technopreneurship Centre says;

 “We want to build a network of innovators, while ensuring that our students can utilize their skills,

                     learn from each other,  improve  and upskill. With the 4th Industrial Revolution looming over us,

                     this is an opportunity for UJ students from different backgrounds to come together  and solve

                     societal problems and ignite an entrepreneurial mindset and develop problem solving skills.

                    The Hackathon will foster active digital collaboration and boast the innovation culture, idea

                    sharing ecosystem and drive creativity towards a goal”.           

This is the first of many activities planned by the UJ Technopreneurship Centre and PAICTA to build an enabling environment for creating an enabling environment for South Africa’s ICT practitioners in order for them to use technology innovation to improve the quality of life of the country’s citizens. Mr Ronny  Makobela believes that,  ‘Hackathons are the future of skills development and they create a solution to the most pressing problems and together UJ Technopreneurship and PAICTA play a pivotal role of leading this kind of initiatives with the ultimate aim of creating more opportunities for students.

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The UJ Technopreneurship Centre (TC) is an ideation and innovation HUB where industries’ most pressing unresolved challenges can be addressed, researched and solved by the students, supported by exceptional academics. The Centre fosters collaboration amongst students and industry partners with regards to building technologies, by involving students in structuring real-life innovative solutions in the form of intelligent software systems, video games, mobil applications (apps), and other forms of technological solutions that address business, economical and societal challenges required by industries, local communities and the government.

For queries about the UJ Technopreneurship Centre:


Contact:            Ronny Koena Mabokela

Designation:      Head of Technopreneurship Centre for SCiiS and Lecturer in the Department of Applied Information Systems

Office:              +27 11 559 2112

Email:               rmabokela@uj.ac.za

Website:            https://www.uj.ac.za/faculties/cbe/SCIIS/Pages/Technopreneurship-Centre.aspx




PAICTA was founded in July 2020 with the overall objective of advancing the ICT pursuits of African SMMEs through the facilitation of an inclusive ecosystem that is conducive to their economic growth.  The organisation seeks to achieve this by advocating and contributing towards a transformed digital economy led by African youth-owned, female-empowered small and medium enterprises as drivers of job creation, poverty alleviation and technology innovation on the continent. PAICTA believes that the unique challenges faced by Africa require a collaborative effort by African nations that prioritises a transformative agenda dedicated to bridging the digital divide and ensuring that the continent derives sustainable benefit from digital innovation.


For queries about PAICTA:


Contact:            Sonwabo Mdwaba

Designation:      PAICTA President

Mobile:             +27 (0)65 842 0656

Office:              +27 (0)65 842 0656

Email:               sonwabo@paicta.org

Website:           www.paicta.org


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Minnie-lee Tagwirei
Minnie-lee Tagwirei
Minnie-lee Tagwirei, is the editor of Beetroot Online Magazine for professionals, entrepreneurs and businesses.

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