The Empire Partner Foundation's Smart Municipality Hackathon took place in December 2020, attracting 46 up-and-coming developers. This hackathon was focused on exploring and proposing solutions that would enable our local municipalities to become smarter in terms of how they made use of their data, their resources and capabilities. The event was sponsored by BriteGaze, a leading AI fund, and was attended by the founder, Mr Reshaad Sha who also presented the opening keynote speech.
One of the unforgettable highlights for Mr Jacob Swati, a 29-year old innovator from Hammanskraal, Gauteng was receiving the news that he had been selected to receive a Computer Science bursary at a South African University of his choice. The bursary was presented by Hymie Marnewick, Managing Director of XLink Communications, the sponsor of the bursary.
“The Empire Partner Foundation is serious about empowering deserving individuals to pursue their dreams in the technology space. Our country is rich with skills and talent and it is our duty to discover and support these talented individuals. We are also very thankful to the XLink team for sponsoring this bursary and allowing us the pleasure of giving it to Mr Swati” says Akivan Kemraj, CEO of the Empire Partner Foundation.
Jacob Swati matriculated with excellent results in mathematics and went on to share his knowledge as a tutor to high school mathematics students at Khamane Secondary School. Jacob then spent a year as a shelf packer at Shoprite, allowing him to fund himself for a data science program where he learned how to build machine learning models and use data visualisation tools.
“I chose to study this Computer Science degree in particular at the North West University because I am passionate about coding and the bursary will allow me the opportunity to realise my dream by exploring broader areas of artificial intelligence” says Jacob Swati.
This hackathon was another success, receiving media coverage on SABC news and attracting partnerships from more private sector organisations. Attendees were treated to keynote speeches from public and private sector industry experts such as Lavina Ramkissoon, founder of r.ai (responsible AI); Yershen Pillay, CEO of the Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority and Hymie Marnewick, Managing Director of XLink Communications.
The Empire Partner Foundation will be hosting another hackathon at the end of January 2021 called the Hydro Solution Hackathon. The upcoming hackathon will be attended by 40 developers, along with mentors and keynote speakers such as Dhesigen Naidoo, CEO of the Water Research Commission and Pule Setai, National Treasury Chief Director for Provincial and Local Government Infrastructure.