Propella Business Incubator hosts a hackathon for those who can’t code

Propella Business Incubator

Propella Business Incubator innovated again last week by making their annual Hackathon completely virtual. 

With over 30 participants from around the country from as far afield as Pretoria, Brits and Ugie.

The event consisted of 18 different teams whose skills varied from junior software developers, to having no coding experience at all.

The event began at 16h30 on Friday afternoon and carried over right through the night into the afternoon of Mandela day, 18 July.

Marketing Co-ordinator, Aphelele Jonas, said, “The advent of COVID-19 has seen many changes be made into the way we do things, this year’s Hackathon was no different.

“Due to lockdown restrictions and the limitations on the number of people that may attend an event, we opted to take our event online and have participants take part from the comfort of their own homes.  

“Traditionally a hackathon is premised around coding, which means you need participants with at least a basic level of understanding and knowledge of coding, this year we decided to make it a bit more inclusive.”

With the event now taking place online, Propella opted to open the hackathon even to participants who had little to no coding or development experience.

Participants were given “tech hacks” and allowed to make use of free online application and website builders, to allow them to them to achieve as close to a product or technology that a potential customer or client would want to buy.

The purpose of this event was to give participants a reason and deadline to work on a tech idea they had been considering.

This was achieved through offering support by means of theoretical background, technical assistance throughout the evening, the opportunity to pitch to a panel who interrogated their idea, as well as direction to online tools that could help them develop a walk through solution. 

The incentive of participation and cash prizes did not go amiss with close to R20 000 in prizes that were up for grabs. Participating teams walked away with vouchers and the top 3 winning teams also walked away with cash prizes.

The virtual event was a first for many of its participants which came with its own unique challenges such as, connectivity issues and power outages just to mention a few.

This however did not dissuade any of the participants who stuck through until the very end of the 20-hour event.

Anita Palmer, Business Incubation Manger had this to say: “In sometimes trying circumstances, we were thrilled with the resolve of the teams to stay the distance, inspired by the ideas they pitched and highly encouraged by their ability to think out of the box. 

“Receiving positive post event feedback that spoke of being inspired by other participants, how much they had grown personally and would be able to use the experience to improve their own thinking and application skills in the future meant that the event was a win for everyone.”

Supported by Seda and a sponsorship from Algoa FM, the Hackathon was also used as a mechanism to recruit candidates for the upcoming ICT Boot Camp to be hosted on 11 and 12 August.

The Boot Camp is for aspiring tech entrepreneurs that need assistance in getting started with their technology or ICT based business ideas.

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