Calling all Township Technologists and Entrepreneurs to join the Cape Town TownshipTech Hackathon!

The City of Cape Town, the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), ABSA and Telkom invites Cape Town Township technologists, tech students and entrepreneurs to the second online TownshipTech hackathon taking place on 1, 2 and 3 April 2022. The aim of the initiative is to ignite innovative solutions that will not only promote growth but also provide opportunities for new businesses and tech ideas to gain exposure and potential investment.


Cape Town based technologists wanting to make a difference and come up with innovative solutions to our hackathon themes and challenges are encouraged to participate and enter the hackathon competition. Teams of between two to five members should register before the online briefing on the 14:00 on 1st of April 2022.


I am proud to say Cape Town is living up to its title of Tech Capital of Africa. And partners like the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) are key to helping in realising this status. The City is an avid supporter of CiTi and the incredible work they do to promote the technology sector. I am excited to be a part of the online Township Tech hackathon. Platforms like these create awareness and we can instil an interest and culture to use technologies to overcome the myriad of challenges residents living in townships” Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth City of Cape Town.


The main purpose of the Township Tech initiative is to build capability and strengthen Township Technology solutions”, says Ian Merrington, Chief Executive Officer of the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative.  “CiTi is delighted to have so many partners and funders that joined the ranks in the 2nd year of the project”.


Participants will be given the opportunity to solve problems in three categories with a specific focus on application in the Western Cape and South African township environments. To get the full details of the hackathon themes and problem statements, entrants must enter the hackathon competition online:


As Absa, we’re proud to be a sponsor of this township tech hackathon which gives us the opportunity to be part of providing opportunities to young tech talent.  One of our key objectives is to build new digital skills and this includes playing an active force for good to support and contribute to the education and employability of young people. We are excited to see the innovative ideas that emerge to solve challenges within our townships. ,” says Michelle Anderson, Head of Strategy: Information & Technology office and Group Digital Partnerships at Absa.


Telkom FutureMakers is excited to partner with CITI and Injini and is the sponsor of the Ed-tech category in the Township Tech Hackathon.  We would like to see entrepreneurs from our townships contribute in finding a creative, accessible, and sustainable solution to the many challenges we face within our education system.   We believe in inclusive innovation and harnessing the creativity that is within our townships. “ says Mmathebe Zvobwo, Executive: Enterprise and Supplier Development.


All of the hackathon finalists will receive mentorship, have access to key entrepreneurial workshops presented by Injini and go into a massive pitch competition in May 2022. The final category pitch winners could receive individual cash prizes of up to R25 000, extra business mentorship as well as the creation of a promotional marketing video for their businesses.


Finalists will be judged on the effectiveness of their solution, how easily the solution can be implemented as well as the overall utilisation of tech creativity to support the product/solution.


The Township Tech Hackathon is a component of the TownshipTech project funded by the City of Cape Town, ABSA and Telkom.


For more information or an interview contact:

Marietjie Engelbrecht, Head of Marketing, Ecosystem & Township Economy  / 082 822 8399


About the Township Hackathon 


The focus of this project is on developing and supporting township technologists and technology solutions in Cape Town.


The Township Tech focus is on providing initiatives that support local tech startup developments, to attract investors to invest in tech startups and provide Township Tech startups with exposure to what is happening internationally to broaden their capabilities.


Although this is a competition, team members are required to engage in a positive, constructive and collaborative manner.


50% of all teams must be a business owner/entrepreneur/technologist/tech student residing in a township within the greater Cape Town area.


The hackathon categories include:


Theme 1: Open Tech Innovation in Townships


Problem Statement: Lack of access


What tech product or service can you develop/ offer that will contribute to improving the lives of citizens within township/informal settlements within Cape Town and provide access to key services and products.  Specifically, look at bringing services closer to citizens.


Theme 2:  FinTech / Commerce solutions for Township businesses


Problem Statement :


Although 33% of all fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) in South Africa are sold by informal retailers (spaza shops, taverns, kiosks), these micro-entrepreneurs are faced with a lack of infrastructure and financial support and are largely cash-based. How might we incentivize informal retailers to move away from running a cash-based business towards digital solutions, particularly when ordering stock from big FMCG brands?’


Theme 3: EdTech solutions


Problem Statement:  The gap between supply and demand for digital skills in South Africa is glaring, and innovative approaches are required to accelerate and scale efforts. This is critical to fuel South Africa’s competitiveness in the digital economy.


Digital literacy is a precursor to being able to engage in a connected world, yet a large section of the South African population is not digitally literate. But then what does that even mean?


The challenge would be to develop an app that would enable an individual to assess their digital literacy in order to assess their own competence and to enable us to develop appropriate propositions.


This could be a gateway to further digital learning.