By Lwazi Nongauza
The Switch Social Entrepreneurship Programme (SSEP) facilitated a 24 HR hackathon challenge for the Startup Safari 2018 competition. For 24 hours, Switchers were required to come up with innovative solutions to a health issue faced in their communities. Sehlorana Penester Tjale and Vusi Tshabalala emerged victorious after a panel of judges announced the two as the overall winners. The main prize is a ten day social entrepreneurship educational trip to India. The social entrepreneurship training programme attracts young social development and business masterminds from all over the world. The business training platform is known for connecting community development practitioners and startups from emerging markets to the fastest growing startup eco-systems around the world. This is all done with the mission to foster cross-border mentorship, collaborations and investment. The young passionate scientist and an entrepreneur, Tjale explains her 24 hour hackathon winning strategy:
“In all honesty, I asked for as much help as I could get from both friends and family. I started with the business model canvas which I had to research first and then interview a handful of people on how the challenge impacted them. This took me 3 hours to complete. Then I asked my younger sister Bohlale Hunadi Tjale to help me shoot the video, which I spent an hour preparing for,‘’ she said.
Tjale intends to use the Startup Safari opportunity to learn as much as possible, market her Girls In Science initiative and pave a new way for additional strategic partners. “Firstly, I have to thank the sponsors of the trip and ACTIVATE! Leadership for coordinating everything. I really can’t wait to hear how other science participants are implementing their initiatives at school level. The information, skills, networks and empowerment platforms that will present themselves through this India trip is significant. Therefore, I am planning to make sure that I acquire useful development tools to benefit my Girls In Science initiative while exposing rural areas and township girls to the practical and technical side of science,’’ she emphasises.
On the other hand, nature conservationist Tshabalala attributes his winning strategy to strictly following the rules and maximising his multimedia skills.
“Upon reading the 24 HR Challenge for Startup Safari, I quickly conducted desktop research until I was 100% sure that I can do what is required. As a multimedia content producer, I then decided to use my film making skills to shoot in my community, schools, shopping complex and edit everything that will help bring all the ideas to life. I single handedly embarked on that entire process by making use of technology and devices at my disposal. I have to admit that at some point I got stuck, I went to watch Frans’ video from last year and called him to get some advice,’’ he said.
Tshabalala who tackled malnutrition and obesity during the 24hr challenge intends to use the opportunity to empower himself, young people in his community and the African continent. “I am planning to use the Startup Safari opportunity to broaden my knowledge by networking with likeminded progressive youth from all over the world and learn more about youth development and social entrepreneurship best practices. I hope all those elements will benefit everyone I interact with on the African continent and the listeners of my radio show.’’ said Tshabalala.
Last years winner, Frans Ntsoereng’s contribution strongly convinced Startup Safari organisers to reserve two positions for ACTIVATE! Leadership members. Ntsoereng’s advice to Tjale and Tshabalala is to use the opportunity to build as many future strategic partners for their projects and continue making a great impression from where he left off so that more Activators can benefit from the unique opportunity that is presented by Startup Safari.
Switch coordinators, Sinesipho Klaas and Claire Gemmill congratulated all the participants for their innovative ideas and pitching skills. Switch coordinators also announced the Top 5 Switchers who will also be receiving prizes, they are: Vuyokazi Ntlebi, Sicelo Mbonani, Hendrick Frans Swarts, Leander Julius and Lehlohonolo Thoabala.