In the dynamic realm of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), African Bank joined forces with 22 On Sloane, the largest startup campus in Africa, to orchestrate a transformative 48-hour Hackathon from November 10th to 12th. This collaborative endeavor aimed to energize tech startups, particularly in emerging economies and previously disadvantaged communities. I had the privilege of delving into the significance of this collaboration through an insightful interview with Mahlatse Tolamo, the Stakeholder and Relationship Manager at 22 On Sloane.
Innovating with Purpose: A Vision Shared by African Bank and 22OnSloane
The GEW Hackathon unfolded as a pivotal initiative aligned with African Bank’s vision to extend support and services to Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs). Mahlatse Tolamo shed light on the unique partnership between African Bank and 22OnSloane, emphasizing the commitment to fostering innovation and addressing fintech challenges.
A Journey of Collaboration: Past and Present Hackathons
Tolamo provided insights into the evolution of this collaboration, citing the Web 3.0 Hackathon as African Bank’s inaugural foray into the hackathon space. The Web 3.0 Hackathon served as a precursor, focusing on showcasing African Bank’s capabilities in the fintech space while providing exposure to students.
In contrast, the GEW Hackathon expanded its scope, welcoming a diverse pool of participants beyond university students. The emphasis shifted to spurring innovation and directly addressing African Bank’s fintech challenges. Tolamo highlighted the openness of this hackathon, inviting a broader demographic to contribute their ideas and solutions.
22OnSloane’s Ecosystem Enabler Role
Beyond the hackathons, Tolamo underscored 22OnSloane’s role as an ecosystem enabler, bringing together public and private stakeholders and entrepreneurs through various events. She emphasized the diverse programs aimed at supporting startups and SMMEs, ranging from incubation and acceleration to youth entrepreneurship programs.
Success Stories and Impactful Programs
The interview showcased the tangible impact of 22OnSloane’s programs, with success stories ranging from startups expanding internationally to securing funding. Tolamo provided a comprehensive overview of programs like the Incubation Program, Accelerator Program, and the GEN Junior’s program, all of which contribute to the holistic growth of entrepreneurs.
Engaging with 22OnSloane: A Gateway to Opportunities
For those intrigued by the possibilities, Tolamo outlined avenues for engagement. She encouraged participation in 22OnSloane’s diverse events, highlighting the inclusivity of programs catering not only to tech startups but also to SMMEs across various sectors.
Hackathon Expectations and Parting Thoughts
As the GEW Hackathon unfolded, Tolamo expressed a desire for participants to revel in the experience, foster innovative ideas, and embrace teamwork. She stressed the pivotal role hackathons play in cultivating innovation, especially within Africa’s youthful population, where entrepreneurs are poised to address challenges and shape the continent’s future.
In conclusion, the interview with Mahlatse Tolamo provides a profound glimpse into the collaborative spirit driving the GEW African Bank Hackathon. This partnership exemplifies a commitment to empowering innovation, creating a ripple effect that extends beyond the hackathon and resonates within the broader landscape of corporate and startup collaboration.