Western Cape residents tap innovative spirit to devise internet-based solutions
Western Cape innovators have devised internet-based solutions to common issues we face, including using WiFi to improve public lighting and an online platform to facilitate smart funding agreements between students and investors.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, today (13 May 2015), revealed the winners of the Western Cape Government’s Internet Competition.
An initiative of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the competition seeks to highlight the important role that public WiFi can play in improving the lives of residents.
Six winners were selected in two categories.
The following residents won R10 000 each in the Internet Innovation category:
Nic Shackel, from Cape Town central, secured one of the top prizes for his low-cost light monitoring device in public spaces. The device is linked to public WiFi and sends an automated alert to the authorities when light levels drop below a certain threshold. In his entry, Shackel said the device aimed to make public spaces such as bus stops safer.
Vumile Mahayiya, from Rosebank, earned R10 000 for Tutelage, an online platform facilitating smart funding agreements between students and investors. Tutelage is a crowd-sourced scholarship website which will connect university students with investors. It will offer student loans at lower interest rates and link recent graduates with potential mentors.
The following entrants won R2 000 each in the “How the internet has improved my business" category:
Siyabonga Tiwana, who lives in Woodstock, came to the Western Cape from Mpumalanga to pursue a career in information technology. After obtaining his qualification he worked for an international company as a mobile developer. Tiwana then decided to started his own technology business, Skywalk Innovations. He keeps updated with the latest technology trends through YouTube tutorials.
Tiwana will use his prize money to complete Google’s certification process exam. As a certified Google partner, Tiwana will be able to grow his business.
Siyabonga Dilimeni, from Delft, is using the area’s public WiFi to boost his cleaning business and study for assignments. Before the launch of the public WiFi in the area, Dilimeni only had limited access to the internet at the local library. He would also have to pay for taxi fare, printing and photocopies. After the installation of the WiFi, he saved up enough for a printer. He is planning to launch a computer literacy programme for young people in his area.
Reyhana Isaacs, from Mitchells Plain, runs a business communications company, MFI Data and Networking Solutions. Isaacs said the internet is a vital business tool. She used the web to secure “information, contacts, leads and networking opportunities”.
Leroy Moodley, from Kuils River, used the internet to find the information he needed to start his own business. Moodley has a qualification in electrical engineering and used the web to research budget management, website building and small business opportunities.
Minister Winde commended the winners of the competition. “The quality of the entries again proves that the Western Cape is home to talented and innovative residents. We are investing R1.3 billion in the broadband roll-out plan and I’m pleased that residents are using the internet as a tool to further their studies and grow their businesses.