At the beginning of October, local tech educator HyperionDev announced a competition where it was giving away three coding scholarships as part of its #CodeForChange initiative.

Each scholarship was valued at R45 000 each, and recently the competition wrapped, with the three winners being announced too.

Winners were chosen by a judging panel of people from within the South African tech industry –  Wesley Lynch of Snapplify, David Torr of UCOOK, Justin Norman from The Flip Africa, Andrew Smith of Yuppiechef and Sam Wright aka TechGirl.

“The competition has shown off the immense talent in South Africa and the hunger of both young and old to solve everyday problems with tech. It’s inspiring and exciting, especially at a time when innovation and creativity is so desperately needed to solve issues like unemployment,” notes Riaz Moola, founder and CEO of HyperionDev.

Organisers explain that the judges had to score entrants out of five, and in three specific criteria:

  1. Community impact – how powerful is the idea’s capacity for changing its community?
  2. Feasibility – how easily can this idea be created and implemented?
  3. Scalability – how well can this idea be extended to other communities, or include more features?

“The breadth of submissions has been incredible and spans everything from biodegradable drones to coding software for the disabled,” adds Moola.

As for the three winners, the judges found the following entrants most deserving of the scholarships:

  • Virtual education platform with gamification by John-Paul Robert Andrew. A platform that uses gamification techniques to get learners hooked on the reward feedback loop which ensures they play more and therefore, learn more.
  • Accessible credit scoring platform by Justin Swart. A platform that offers South Africans access to a credit scoring platform, which is fundamental to accessing affordable financial capital.
  • Payment, chat and scheduling app for Metrorail by Regan Jansen. Named ‘Trainbuddy’, the app hopes to alleviate the long queues for ticket purchasing and GPS tracking to see exactly where specific trains are located on the route.

“The top two ideas for me were the Metrorail App and the Education app. Both aren’t necessarily new concepts but they are concepts that I think we need in South Africa. I thought the Metrorail app  was the best of the bunch and something that would make a difference in many lives. Just an online update on delays would go a long way. I thought the education via gamification app was clever and easy to execute as well,” adds Sam Wright, TechGirl.

“We’re excited to award these scholarships to these three ambitious individuals and be part of their study and careers paths,” concludes Moola.