TownshipTech Hackathon and Pitch Competition: An invitation to innovate

In a valiant effort to shine the light on township tech, the Bandwidth Barn, in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), will be hosting its first online hackathon and pitch competition.


The online hackathon, an opportunity for anyone to convene and innovate, will take place on 20 and 21 February 2021 after an initial briefing session on 19 February 2021.


The goal of the hackathon and pitch competition is to ignite the township’s tech activity and interaction around main themes and to stimulate the formation of new companies or products based on solving real-life problems such as:


Safety and security
How can businesses and consumers within townships remain safe while facing issues such as:
1. Extortion/protection fees and intimidation from organised crime and corrupt law enforcement
2. Ensuring successful prosecution and conviction by providing evidence to support law enforcement
3. Removing cash transactions to limit muggings or robberies around and on the premises of township businesses


Reach of services and support
How can existing services and business support provided by the government reach the people and communities that need it on scale? There are a lot of services and potential support available to businesses and entrepreneurs, but the right people don’t know about it or there is just not enough to help everyone. Could there be a solution to bring this into the spotlight and scale up existing initiatives?


Increased connectivity
How can businesses and consumers within the township have access to high-quality fibre and stable connectivity to trade and earn online? There are long term initiatives underway to improve connectivity across townships – could there be a way to speed up the progress or build new solutions?


Is the event limited to software developers?
Absolutely not! We invite people with all types of skills to participate. The hackathon is for any person that wants to make a difference and come up with solutions to our hackathon themes and challenges. Remember, 50% of any team must be a resident/business owner/entrepreneur or technologist/tech student residing in a township within the greater Cape Town area.


How to participate
a. Look at the 3 themes of the competition and find the one or two themes you want to solve for
b. Enter your team of 2 – 5 people before noon on 19 February 2021 on this link here 
c. If your team can accommodate another person or a specific skill – indicate that on your application
d. After registration, you will receive an email invitation with a Zoom link -join the online Zoom briefing on Friday 19 February at 14:00.
e. Submit your pitch video on Sunday at 14:00 and wait for the announcement of the finalists on Monday!


Rules of participation

● Teams must register before the briefing happening on the 19th of February. Register your team here
● Each team may have between 2 – 5 team members
● If you enter alone, and want to be allocated to a team, please indicate on the registration form. If your team is keen to include newcomers, please let us know on the registration form.
● This hackathon is a safe and enabling environment, we need all participants to engage with each other and the other teams in a constructive and encouraging manner
● Even though this is a competition, we engage with everyone in a collaborative manner.


Hackathon judging:

The hackathon finalists will be judged on:
1. How effectively their solution addresses the challenge stated in the chosen category
2. How easy it will be to implement the solution
3. How creatively technology is/can be utilised (new or existing) to support the product/solution


At the end of the hackathon, there will be 3 finalists per theme, and everyone will receive at least 2 coaching sessions

The final pitch winners (one per theme) will win:

a. Cash prize of R5,000
b. Co-work space for 3 months (including free WIFI) at the Bandwidth Barn
c. 10-month online entrepreneurial programme
d. Promotional marketing video for business


Fiona Tabraham

Fiona Tabraham is a strategic workforce development expert with a career founded on a resolute commitment to inclusivity, talent nurturing, and societal impact. Chief Executive of CAPACITI Digital Career Accelerator, Fiona’s passion for equity has charted pathways across numerous organisations, guiding bespoke Talent Initiatives, Future Leadership Development Programs, and transformative Career Pathway Development. Her tenure at Network Rail bore inclusive talent strategies, STEM advocacy, and innovative Graduate, Apprentice, and Internship initiatives. A trusted partner to a number of governmental, corporate and impact driven entities, Fiona empowers individuals and organisations, fostering diverse recruitment practices and innovative talent strategies. Fiona’s impact transcends the tech sector, positioning her as a leading voice for inclusive digital career initiatives.