EPF Hosts 12th Hackathon, Celebrates Innovation

Empire Partner Foundation (EPF) marks its 12th hackathon by celebrating the culture of innovation that has seen young software developers find solutions for problems with security, mental health, water supplies, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant payments, healthcare, and education.

The tech non-profit organisation has hosted 12 hybrid (physical and virtual) hackathons boasting high levels of engagement and collaboration.

More than 1 000 hackathon participants harnessed their creativity and found innovative solutions for tackling today’s biggest community challenges.

“Ever since we hosted the Hackathon last year we have come a long way and met a lot of incredible young talented developers with a drive to build innovative solutions for their community and for the country,” says Mikhial Mariemuthu, manager of the EPF.

“We are grateful to all of our supporters and partners for their ongoing support in working with EPF to solve socio-economic challenges through smart technology.

“In 2022 we aim to host a nationwide hackathon that will empower the youth not just from Gauteng but from all parts of South Africa”.

Mariemuthu says the key to designing hackathons is to create high levels of engagement and collaboration.

Now one year later, EPF and the new way of problem-solving (hackathons) are changing South Africa.

In this period, EPF has been redefining the provision of public sector services through smart solutions at the same time giving young African developers the opportunity to develop real-world solutions.

The organisation has so far incubated 12 winning teams, who designed solutions for security, mental health, water, SASSA grant payments, healthcare, and education.

Matshidiso Bodibe, head of EPF comments: “Winning teams from our hackathons are given an opportunity to build a business around the solutions they have designed.

“The incubation hub program will last between 6-12 months depending on the growth of the business.”

For the winning teams, working with EPF has enhanced capabilities in solving local community problems through tech.

“We are excited and looking forward to the future. We hope our success inspires other young developers to take on challenges that will have a positive impact on society,” says Issa Kalonji, whose team Commute won the 12th hackathon for their smart solution for transport.

Another EPF prize winner, Emmanuel Mbuya, also comments: “Attending Innovation Hackathons is always an exciting experience, winning one is even more amazing so to say, it was an enormous and unforgettable moment to win the 12th Hackathon hosted by EPF.

“Our advice and words of encouragement is a call for more young entrepreneurs to keep going forward and believing in their dreams to transform Africa into a developed continent as technology is going to transform every sector. Africa is rich with talent and that should be used to fuel this transformation.”

The hackathon anniversary celebration by the EPF comes as the tech NGO begins its African expansion drive

The Illovo-based organisation is growing operations in alliance with like-minded tech hubs such as iHub, Impact Hub (Rwanda), Ghana Innovation Hub, Mt Kenya Hub, Co-creation Hub, and Sahara Ventures.

Since 2016, EPF has been working with SA developers on scalable ideas to create new solutions using technology to impact social change and increase sustainability, and it is marching into Africa.

EPF is seeking to grow an ecosystem of African developers that use technology to improve communities on the continent.