CPT start-up offers tech and entrepreneurship skills to students


A team of students at the University of Cape Town (UCT) have come together to form a start-up company – Zaio that is meant to assist student developers to build an information technology skills profile through coding challenges and practical experience.

The aim is to help them to ultimately land their dream job and the platform provides other start-ups with access to affordable web and app development.

The idea of Zaio was initiated in 2017, when a student developer Thando Hlongwane realised that one of the biggest issues he faced was his lack of practical experience. Aspiring entrepreneurs found it very difficult to prototype and create innovations because it’s really expensive to build tech.

The team is made up of seven students all of whom have a similar interest in technology and entrepreneurship; : Mvelo Hlophe, Thando Hlongwane, Mihlali Xozwa, Harjot Singh, Akhil Boddu, Ntuthuko Mpaku and Asif Hassam.

Technology, and especially web and app development and coding, is often seen as a male-dominated space. The only woman on the Zaio team, Xozwa, who is the finance and community leader, is actively trying to get more women involved with the platform. Generally, technology and web and app development and coding are more of a male dominated field.

“We are trying to engage more women and bring more people of colour into this space We want to make this tech-driven space more inclusive. That’s at the core of our business,” said Boddu.

They started out by turning their attention to introducing things like coding challenges and company tours, to broaden the experiences of developers as they try to build relevant industry skills.

Once a project has been identified, individual developers are grouped together in what Zaio calls clusters. Then, under the direction of a project manager, they build out the necessary prototypes.

At this point, they lack manpower – they are looking for more developers to come on board and help, additionally, they are looking for developers to recruit.



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