Innovative NPOs share R28m win from Google

29 November 2018 - 11:59 By Nivashni Nair
Winners of the first-ever Google Impact Challenge in SA were announced on Wednesday November 28 2018.
Winners of the first-ever Google Impact Challenge in SA were announced on Wednesday November 28 2018.
Image: Google

A home alarm linked directly to police, an interactive website to promote transparency in policy, a career guide and a blockchain platform to track positive behaviour in youth will share a R28m prize from Google.

The four winners - Corruption Watch Bua Mzansi, Gradesmatch, MeMeZa and RLabs - were announced at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg on Wednesday evening. They will receive $250,000 each.

The winners were chosen from 12 finalists after 1,300 South African non-profit organisations (NPOs) entered the first Google Impact Challenge in South Africa.

The organisations had to persuade the voting public, as well as judges Basetsana Kumalo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Nomzamo Mbatha, Ferial Haffajee, Maps Maponyane, Simphiwe Dana, Rapelang Rabana and Google SA's Bryan Nelson, that their project deserved funding.

“Many African innovators are doing great work with real impact and Google is keen to shine a light on their work, and also give a financial boost to their projects and ideas," said Google SA spokesperson Mich Atagana.

She said Google believed that technology could help local and national organisations to better reach their goals and solve some of the continent’s most pressing challenges. "Google is eager to provide support to individuals and organisations using technology in new ways to make a positive difference.”

The four overall winners walked away with a R3.5m grant each while the eight runners-up won a R1,7m grant each.

"The funding will be allocated in tranches, to be assigned to each enterprise as they reach a set of predefined milestones specific to each venture. In addition to the funding, the winners and runners-up also receive support from Google to reach their goals and meet those milestones," Google SA said.

The winners are:

Corruption Watch: Bua Mzansi - An online interactive website to enhance public participation and transparency in policing.

Gradesmatch - A platform to serve as a comprehensive career guide, designed to map career data for learners, parents and teachers/mentors to help them make well-informed career decisions.

MeMeZa Shout Crime Prevention (People’s Choice Award) - Bringing safety to vulnerable people through a public community alarm system.

RLabs Zlto digital platform - A mobile and blockchain platform that tracks and incentivises positive behaviour in youths.