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Students go mobile jamming

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Gijima and the University of Western Cape are alerting students to a ‚CodeJam‚ , scheduled to take place between March and May this year. This initiative aims to encourage students to be innovative and become leaders in the growing trend of mobility.

Students ‚ not necessarily developers ‚ are invited to submit innovative app ideas to the portal that will be expanded and rated by the Code Jam community. This crowd-sourcing model encourages collaboration and enables top-rated ideas to emerge. The winning ideas will be taken forward and developed for Apple’s mobile products.

Participants will attend workshops facilitated by experts from Gijima and associated partners. In addition to developing coding skills, participants will grow their business and technical management skills under the mentorship and guidance of Gijima staff through an incubation process.

All the events lead up to a Code Jam weekend where the developed apps will be showcased and the winners selected.

Gijima and the University of Western Cape have a strategic partnership to contribute towards three key areas: education, innovation and research.The ‚jamming session‚ is one of the initiatives of the partnership, aimed at igniting a new generation of technology producers who not only consume technology but also create it. Research shows that in developing markets more and more people are adopting mobile technology because it is suitable to their specific circumstances. Africa, for example, has 649 million mobile users but only 110 million Internet users.

The coding session touches on the innovation and education aspect of the partnership. Says Professor Louis Fourie of the University of the Western Cape’s Department of Information Systems: ‚We were influenced by the University of Aalto in Finland in terms of designing the partnership between us as a university and the private sector ‚ hence the three components. A university must be a driver of innovation in the country, and that is closely linked to research. The intention is to help students develop the level of skills and understanding what would be needed in a modern organisation ‚ which includes the education. Our department aims to ensure that students will be able to make an immediate difference in the organisations they join after completion of their studies, ‚ says Professor Fourie.

A benefit of the partnership is creating a pool of talent that the industry can draw from, for the future: Gijima is excited to be part of this initiative. Says Basha Pillay, innovation team leader at Gijima: ‚Organisations are always requested to make meaningful contributions but do not necessarily have the capacity to invest that much in skills development, which is the core of a university’s business. We utilise students coming from universities into our business to contribute towards the success of the company, so this is a mutually beneficial partnership.‚

CEO Jonas Bogoshi’s vision is to leave a legacy by contributing towards the country’s development and competitiveness. ‚He believes that companies should not only be concerned about profit, but should take responsibility for the development of the broader society,‚ says Basha Pillay. ‚This initiative provides Gijima with the opportunity to use our strength and expertise as an IT company to contribute meaningfully towards the development of students. The competition is not only open to IT or computer science students but to anyone who is passionate about developing mobile applications and technology‚ .

Longer term, the initiative seeks to provide youth with access to technology and skills development but more importantly to empower them and foster an entrepreneurial spirit.

Students with the most practical and innovative applications will go into an incubation programme while selected successful apps will go into the market where participants can earn revenue for their efforts.

Students interested in taking part in Code Jam can do so by registering on www.codejam.co.za.

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