App inspired by fatal varsity stampede wins millions from Google
The web-based solution was invented by a University of Cape Town IT alumnus from the Eastern Cape
A career app that was inspired by the deadly stampede outside the University of Johannesburg a few years ago has won millions of rands in funding from Google.
Gradesmatch, a comprehensive career guidance app co-founded by a former Bhisho High schoolboy from the Eastern Cape, was named the South African winner of the first Google Impact Challenge in Africa.
The web-based solution invented by University of Cape Town IT alumnus Unathi September, 29, who is from King William’s Town, and his partners, Rudzani Mulaudzi, 28, and Lebo Diale, 28, earned the trio a R3.5m grant.
September told the Daily Dispatch the invention was inspired by a stampede at the University of Johannesburg in January 2012, where one mom was killed during a rush to register students. “We came from schools where there was not enough information on where and how to apply at higher learning institutions and how to apply for funding. So prospective students flocked to higher learning institutions to seek placement and answers,” said September.
The app, successfully piloted in 14 high schools in and around King William’s Town in 2014, went on to assist 84,900 pupils from disadvantaged southern African schools to plan and apply for a career best suited to them.
Using the app, pupils can enter their subjects and marks.
It then matches them with suitable tertiary institutions, based on their marks.
The app also links the pupils with corporate mentors as part of a corporate social investment initiative, as well as with available study funding and support in how to apply.
While doing their final year in information systems at the University of Cape Town, September, Diale and Mulaudzi developed their app.
After Google announced that the challenge was coming to Africa and made a public call for applicants in May this year, the trio applied.
Following a stringent selection process, Gradesmatch was selected as the winner out of more than 1,300 entries.
September said the prize money would assist them to expand their net, reach more pupils and improve their technology.
“We will be able to reach 100,000 learners by January and grow that number to 125 million in 25 African countries by 2023,” he said.
Pupils can find the app on Google Play and at Gradesmatch.