Unemployed graduate garage developers get a chance at R30 000 for a winning app idea

Initiative is aimed at developing techpreneurs with the right skills set to launch successful startups


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MTN SA Foundation together with mobile solutions laboratory and startup accelerator, mLab are giving 30 young graduate garage developers from Khayelitsha and Gugulethu in the Western Province, access to financial support to be used to advertise their apps as well as a chance to automatically qualify for the 2016 MTN Business App of the Year Awards.

The MTN SA Foundation Community App Challenge is aimed at unearthing the best apps in the education and health categories as well as empowering young developers who want to start their own businesses and make a difference in their communities.

At the end of the challenge six apps are chosen to receive R30 000 worth of advertising and will automatically qualify for the App of the Year Awards, South Africa’s premier showcase of app-development innovation and talent, in 2016.

See also: Wumdrop wins MTN's Business App of the Year challenge

General manager of MTN SA Foundation, Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, says the foundation is pleased to be partnering with mLab for the challenge.

"Such initiatives support our strategic intent of creating sustainable value for our stakeholders as well as developing a force of entrepreneurs who have the right skills set to grow their business, contribute to the growth of the economy and create much-needed jobs," she says.

mLab will be managing the process as well as taking the apps to market. Once ready, they will be evaluated by MTN staff at the group’s head office, who will be encouraged to ‘play’ and interact one-on-one with the final applications. 

Young and talented

The hackathon is targeted at mobile app developers and graphic designers between the ages of 18 – 30 with some experience.

Previous winners, who were each awarded R30 000 worth of advertising and were incubated and mentored by mLab for a year, include community announcement solution, Voonja App; New Start App that deals with male circumcision issues; and Pink Drive, an app that deals with breast and prostate cancer.

"We believe in building new and sustainable businesses, and this effectively shifts the MTN Community App Challenge from being merely a competition to a potential supplier development exercise," says Mtunzi-Hairwadzi.

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