In an exciting initiative to encourage students to join the digital revolution by becoming innovators and entrepreneurs, Prof Barry Dwolatzky, Director of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University has launched a campaign called DIZ Spark.
Pizza delivery from Wits? You have to be there!
Thousands of pizza boxes will be delivered to students on Wits campuses to entice them to participate in three weekends of exiting activities at Wits University’s newest venue in Braamfontein called The Digital Innovation Zone, or simply “The DIZ”. The first event, a weekend-long Learnathon, takes place on 8 and 9 August 2015.
“The DIZ Spark Campaign aims to inspire and train young digital entrepreneurs. It will also introduce them to our new venue in Braamfontein,” says Prof Dwolatzky. Details of the Campaign and other useful information are packed into a pizza box. “We decided to try something different to create awareness of The DIZ and advertise the valuable free training sessions we are running this month. Although we didn’t provide a pizza, we are certainly offering our students something way more valuable.”
Why pizza boxes? Dwolatzky explains “Many cities around the world now have digital innovation hubs, similar to The DIZ. Innovation in these hubs is driven by ample supplies of coffee, pizza and bandwidth. In this case we are hoping that the thought of pizza will attract our brightest innovators.”
Microsoft South Africa has provided sponsorship for DIZ Spark and will provide expertise and support during the Learnathon.
The Learnathon programme is aimed at students from all academic disciplines. Dwolatzky explains “There will be something for everyone. The schedule includes short talks on topics like cloud computing, intellectual property and finance for Startups. There will also be a wide range of topics covered in longer sessions. These include ‘How to develop an App’, ‘How to launch your own Startup’, ‘Print your ideas with a 3D-printer’, ‘Develop a digital game’, and many more. All sessions will focus on developing practical skills. We will challenge students across different skill sets, encouraging them participate and collaborate while thinking and working differently.”
On the weekends of the 15th and 25th August a Hackathon will be run at The DIZ. Students will be challenged to come up with innovative ideas for Apps that will be useful to Wits Students. Participants will compete for a number of great prizes. “The JCSE Team and some of our industry partners will provide support and coaching,” explains Dwolatzky.
The winners will be announced during the Fak’ugesi Digital Africa festival which Wits is hosting from the end of August.