UP entrepreneurship event: Ignite Ideathon

 

CHARISA MUJURU

Ignite Ideathon is an event to unite UP students and exercise their “entrepreneurship juices”. Created by UP alumni turned entrepreneurs and business owners, Nkanyiso Mlobane and George Tshepo Mokoena, this year’s event, held on 18-19 October, was the first of its kind. The 22 applicants who entered the pitch competition had to come up with three minute innovative pitches based on one of four topics given, namely, agriculture, maritime, education and Bitcoin.

The winners of the Ideathon not only received prize money for their innovative ideas but they have also been given a chance to pursue their ideas even further through the help of UP Business Incubator as well as the event’s sponsor, Standard Bank.

Also involved in hosting Ignite Ideathon was UP MakerSpace, a laboratory that allows UP students with creative ideas to team up with technologically advanced students and bring their ideas to life. The main goal of the organisations involved in the event is to help transform UP into a hub of entrepreneurial activity and to embrace the creativity of its students.

In the line up for the event, other than the Ideathon itself, was speed mentoring for students who want to pursue entrepreneurship as well as exhibits from innovative companies in SA such as Microsoft and Intel, allowing students to obtain “information and training from the best”.

In future, the hosts of the event intend to turn it into an annual two day conference exclusive to UP students, “where they get a platform to access entrepreneurship with a chance of succeeding” by speaking to renowned guests and being exposed to different entrepreneurial activities that will ignite the entrepreneur within them.

The third place winner at the Ideathon was the group African Wealth Stokvel, led by Lesiba Moja and they won R2000. The group’s pitch was based on the topic of agriculture and their idea was to gather up money from different stokvels, domestic investors as well as the government and use it to create a company where they buy farms and hire locals to work on the farms and also give them a chance to own a part of the farmland.

Second place went to Uni-ED learning, led by Jiahui Lu and they won a cash prize of R3000. Their innovative idea was to create software that can be integrated in the education system, giving students the chance to tutor each other and earn rewards that can later on be converted to cash rewards. The application would also allow students to obtain bursaries through the touch of a button.

The grand prize of R5000 went to team Airducation led by Bongani Mthembu. Their idea, based on the topic of education, was to merge virtual reality with an educational application. This would be located in the township or the rural areas where a room is built next to a spaza shop and virtual reality headsets alongside tablets are placed inside the room, for primary and secondary school children to use. The students will be able to see lectures, do online assessments and collaborate with schools in different areas using the headsets.

 

Photo: Anotidashe Mukombachoto

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