The Kingsway Campus of the University of Johannesburg was abuzz with innovation on August 11th and 12th, 2023, as the Campus Innov8 Hackathon unfolded in collaboration with the National Youth ICT Council and the SA Local Government Association [SALGA]. A partnership that showcased Gauteng’s youthful vigor, this event received invaluable support from global analytics leader, SAS, demonstrating its commitment to fostering innovation and robotics expertise for tackling societal challenges.
Underpinning the event’s dual thrust of a hackathon and a makeathon was the resonant theme of “Infrastructure Security in Local Government.” This choice took on heightened significance in the aftermath of the recent Bree Street explosion in Johannesburg’s CBD, serving as a poignant reminder of the pressing need for robust security solutions within local government infrastructure. Aligning seamlessly with Sustainable Development Goal [SDG] 9’s mandate to establish resilient infrastructure, industry advancements, and innovation, the theme drew a stark link between innovation and societal well-being.
Essie Mokgonyana, SAS’s Country Manager and Sales Director in South Africa, lauded the participants for their ingenious contributions. She remarked, “By immersing themselves in real-world concerns like infrastructure security, these young innovators not only showcased their technical prowess but also displayed a profound grasp of the challenges our society confronts today.”
The Campus Innov8 Hackathon’s scope extended far beyond the immediate event. Selected social innovators will engage in entrepreneurship and innovation development training facilitated by stakeholders, a program further enhanced through incubation and market support.
SAS’s partnership played a pivotal role, offering robotics kits, mentoring remuneration for winners, and contributing to the event’s grand prize. The second day, coinciding with International Youth Day, spotlighted the pivotal role of the youth in addressing infrastructure issues through digital solutions and novel products. The day culminated in an awards ceremony and an exhibition showcasing the hackathon’s ingenious creations.
Mokgonyana emphasized, “Our commitment surpasses mere sponsorship; it centers on championing innovation and nurturing tomorrow’s visionaries. This event provided an optimal platform for the youth to shine and present their resolutions to pressing societal problems.”
She went on to explain that SAS’s mission involves bridging the gap between academia and industry. “Through initiatives like the Campus Innov8 Hackathon, our goal is to cultivate a dynamic ecosystem for young talents to delve into the vibrant realm of technology and innovation.”
As the curtains draw on this year’s event, SAS’s unwavering dedication to education, skill enhancement, and innovation remains resolute. With its consistent backing of analogous endeavors, the organization stands as a benchmark for nurturing the forthcoming generation of technological and societal leaders.