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City of Joburg launches Smart City Innovation Challenge for tech startups

Two tech startups have the opportunity to win R100 000 each in the Smart City Innovation Challenge, an initiative developed by the City of Johannesburg in partnership with Tshimologong Innovation Precinct.

In an official statement, the City of Johannesburg explains the aim of the innovative challenge. 

“The lockdown protocols have ignited new thinking about the future of our City and its residentsTherefore, the Smart City Innovation Challenge aims to find and develop digital technology solutions that respond to urban and community challenges faced by the City in the new normal resulting from Covid-19.”

R100 000 will be provided to prototype the product along with guided mentoring

How to take part 

To take part, tech startups must submit a proposal for smart city innovative solutions that are in direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic along with a contingency plan on moving forward.

Whether you are a company developing smart city technologies or an innovator ready to share their prototype responses to dealing with the pandemic, applicants are encouraged to apply. 

The following criteria apply to applicants proposals: 

  • The solution should work towards saving lives through the means of improved detection, tracking, and prediction of the spread of the virus along with enhancing communication and improving healthcare and security in the city.
  • Provide a solution based on supporting livelihood. The developed solution should target residents of the city and improve livelihoods by either reducing vulnerability, improving food security, and uphold human dignity. 

The application form can be found here. 

“These are solutions that may additionally enable the city’s citizens to be entrepreneurial and find new ways to sustain themselves, ” says the City of Johannesburg.

Two winners will be chosen and given a prototype grant of R 100 000 each. The winners will be assisted through a rapid development and prototype launching process through a virtual boot camp with access to mentors. In addition, further funding opportunities into their product will be available but only one startup will make it through to implementation. 

Lawrence Boya, the Smart City Office Leader, explains that he is hopeful the programme will inspire innovation amongst residents

“This innovation call is an opportunity for innovators of our City to bring forward their innovative solutions to help our City respond in a smarter way to challenges posed by Covid-19. We also hope to use this initiative to help to grow innovation in Joburg and thus make Joburg the Leading African City of Innovation.”

A detailed guide and information pack for the challenge is available here. Applications close on 20 July at midnight. 

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