Schoemans encouraging innovation

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Schoemans encouraging innovation

Several NUST students recently participated in a Schoemans-sponsored hackathon during which they were tasked to create innovative solutions to some of the most pressing socio-economic challenges facing their communities.

The challenges presented were based on the following socio-economic issues: youth unemployment, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, lack of financial literacy, corruption and mental health. 

The third and second-year IT students had to leverage their skills and creativity to develop prototypes that could potentially have a positive impact on their communities.

They were divided into five groups, each consisting of three members, and given three days to develop a prototype to showcase to a panel of seven judges on 31 March 2023. 

The winning team came up with a prototype of an application called Skill Lync, which helps unemployed people post their services online.

One of this application’s most significant features is the provision of tutoring services to high school students, which could potentially address the root cause of youth unemployment. 

The team was awarded the first prize of a Samsung Galaxy Tablet.

One of the winning members, Alexander Luiperth, told Youth Corner they strongly believe that the solution they proposed can substantially reduce youth unemployment – not only in Namibia but globally.

“I came up with this idea because I was facing a similar problem – a university student looking to make an income. This solution is something that might not only solve my personal problem but also a lot of people’s problems,” he said.

Luiperth said winning the hackathon was a great achievement, and would not be possible without the hard work of his team, as their solution proves to be valid and he hopes with the proper support, he can continue developing this solution.

The second-place team developed a prototype that reversed the roles – allowing employers to search for employees or service providers online. Their model won them wireless, noise-cancelling headsets as their prize.

The hackathon was initiated by Schoemans, a leading technology company in Namibia, and hosted in partnership with the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and MTC through the Impact Lab, an annual innovation hackathon, aimed at developing new technologies that can make a difference in society. 

Head of marketing at Shoemans Nicolene Kandjii-Murangi said the initiative is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility and its mission to use technology to improve people’s lives.

Murangi shared with Youth Corner that Schoemans, along with their partners, have committed to working with the winning teams to further develop their prototypes into working products that can be used by the public.