For those of you who have been following me on social media, you probably would’ve gauged by now that I’ve been working on a project for most of this year. In fact, myself and two close friends, Matt (medical student) and Zolile (PGDA student), decided to pursue this idea.
The idea behind UCONNECT was born towards the end of 2018, directly as a result of our frustration with the university system. As three students at UCT, we were constantly being sold this narrative that UCT is the best university in Africa. However, if one looks toward the best universities in the world, almost all of them have become launchpads for innovation – something that we as “undergrads” at UCT did not experience. In fact, my experience of university was rather underwhelming, as I felt I was being prepared to work in world that no longer exists. This is a big problem!
Why are we not tapping into the intellectual capital at the university and encouraging innovative ideas? Our UCT entrepreneurs are few and far between. And at the end of the day, entrepreneurship is what will allow us to create the jobs that our economy so desperately needs.
We believe that the lack of entrepreneurial innovation stemming from UCT is a direct result of a lack of collaboration amongst students. This, we believe, is a classic result of an age old institution that operates in may different silos.
For example: as a commerce student, I have absolutely no clue what people in engineering, medicine, the arts, computer science, (the list goes on) are even working on, never mind capable of. In fact, I don’t even know what accounting, finance and economics majors in my own faculty are up to. This isn’t a result of a lack of interest, but because University has a way of putting us into these big silos and more often than not, channelling us towards “ideal” corporate jobs.
However, the dream of being able to collaborate with students outside of our silos towards innovating something is what really excites us. The bottom line is that the missing pieces to your next big idea are walking past you on campus every day. And because these silos exist, you will graduate with a degree without even exploring a collaborative opportunity to fulfil your idea.
What good is an idea, if it’s just an idea?
SO WHAT IS UCONNECT ABOUT?
UCONNECT is an online platform that will allow students at our university the opportunity to collaborate on ideas and tackle problems together. Students will be able to build up profiles on our platform which indicates their skillsets, interests and past projects they’ve worked on (with less of a focus on what degree they have studied).
Students are able to:
- list their ideas and look for team members to collaborate with
- visa-versa, students will be able to find projects that they’d like to collaborate on
There’s a lot more to this platform that will come with time and scale. However, we’re working on our proof of concept for now.
To find out more, check us out here: