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Private sector looks to students for innovation

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Gijima, a JSE-listed IT services company, along with the University of Western Cape (UWC) are scheduling a “Code Jam” between March and May this year.

New apps, fresh ideas, brought to you by Gijima and the University of the Western Cape. (image: findmysoft.com)

Even students who are not necessarily developers are invited to submit innovative app ideas to be rated and expanded on 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 mobile products.

Workshops will be presented by experts from Gijima and associated partners. In addition to developing coding skills, participants will grow their business and technical management skills. These events lead up to the Code Jam weekend where the developed apps will be showcased and the winners selected.

Gijima and the UWC hope to contribute to three key areas with their strategic partnership: education, innovation and research. Research indicates that in developing markets more people are adopting mobile technology. Africa i.e. has 649 million mobile users, but only 110 million internet users.

Professor Louis Fourie from UWC’s Department Information Systems says: “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. A university must be a driver of innovation in the country, and that is closely linked to research.”

According to Basha Pillay, Gijima’s innovation team leader says: “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.”

Staff writer


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