The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), has widened participation in its second Hackathon, which will be held in Bulawayo next month, to the generality of Zimbabweans.
The event, which brings to the fore new innovations, follows the successful inaugural Hackathon that was held earlier in February, which was limited to the country’s universities.
The second Hackathon, which will be running under the theme: ‘Hacking for SDGs post Covid-19 and beyond’ is seeking out local innovations that will help overcome challenges brought about by the global health pandemic.
Covid-19, and the attendant hard lockdowns, social distancing requirements, and work-from-home routines, has highlighted the need to enhance digital social and e-commerce platforms.
“The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, through its Innovation Drive, is launching the ‘#Hacking for SDGs post-Covid-19 and beyond’ Challenge, and is inviting passionate innovators to proffer ideas and solutions that make use of information and communication technologies to solve the socio-economic challenges that are likely to make it difficult for the country to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) beyond the Covid-19 pandemic,” said telecommunications sector regulator.
The Hackathon concept has been adopted in line with the recommendations of the report prepared by the Zimbabwe delegation to the World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2019 (WSIS Forum 2019), and the success of the Zimbabwean team of students that participated in the Hackathon that was held during that event.
The adoption of the Hackathon concept by POTRAZ is expected to increase the number of innovators benefiting under the Innovation Drive.
Since inception, the Innovation Drive has been assisting innovators in the form of loans and only a few proposals that had running projects or bankable prototypes have so far qualified for support under the program.
But most proposals received from innovators were still at the ideation stage and failed to convince the adjudicators that they would be able to repay the loans.
Adoption of the Hackathon concept has made it possible for the Innovation Drive to provide seed capital to innovators whose projects are still at the ideation stage, in the form of grants.