By Ndileka Swakamisa
A young South African techpreneur is flying the South African flag high after being invited for the second time to one of the biggest youth summits in the world, the One Young World Summit 2017 in Bogota, Colombia – for his innovative solutions to challenges.
22-year-old Xolile Xaba is the founder of app development startup, Prefect Communications and Developments Inc. He is also a second year Bachelor of Commerce Law student majoring in Business and Management Accounting at the Pearson Institute of Higher Education.
He has designed two apps, Car-Park App, which helps users locate their cars in crowded parking lots including malls and festivals; as well as BizzPort, a business news app with an online boardroom for African entrepreneurs. The app also features a GPS service that connects users to business events happening around them. The goal, says Xaba, is to create an online hub that connects entrepreneurs throughout Africa.
Last year Xaba represented South Africa at the same summit in Ottawa, Canada. He was one of 2,500 young leaders and innovators invited to attend from around the world. This year, Xaba will be attending the summit to showcase his apps on the world stage.
The summit is geared towards empowering promising and creative young leaders from around the world aged between 18 and 30 with a passion for global issues and a track record of making a significant impact in their community.
The summit also introduces them to mentors. Previous mentors at the Summit include Bob Geldof, Kofi Annan, Sir Richard Branson, Professor Muhammad Yunus, Emma Watson and Arianna Huffington, as well as Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
“I always knew that I wanted to build something for my country and my generation, but I never thought anyone as far as Canada or Colombia would be interested in seeing my work. It is as much an achievement for me as it is for my home town, Newcastle, Kwa-Zulu Natal,” says Xaba.
Xaba shares 3 interesting details about what went into building each of his apps.
BizzPort – A business news app that also connects entrepreneurs
- “I came up with the solution after reading an article in my business studies class which stated that African countries are more connected to countries outside Africa [than within the continent]. My response to that was to create a solution that could easily be accessed and distributed.”
- “I came up with the idea back in 2015 when I was in grade 12 in Newcastle, KwaZulu Natal. In 2016 while doing my first year at Pearson Institute of Higher Education I completed writing the codes for BizzPort. I then started attending tech exhibitions and pitching to potential stakeholders. BizzPort will be distributed to the general public in August 2017. After completing the first version I’ve been working with other developers with the purpose of distributing BizzPort to nearby countries.”
- “BizzPort allows us to cater for a wide audience with just one platform. I had a lot of ideas at one time. I decided to narrow them down by using similar characteristics of the audience I am targeting.”
Car-Park – Helps users locate their cars
- “I actually created the app for my Granny as a Valentine’s Day gift. It wasn’t created for commercial purposes I was just trying to solve a problem that we have been facing for ages and we even forgot that it’s a problem and it needs to be solved.”
- “For a very long time I struggled to find a business model for the app mainly because the project was for my Granny’s personal use. After showing it to my friends they made a huge fuss about it which forced me to put on my thinking hat.”
- “The Car-Park App literally created its own buzz because it took me just a week to write the codes and a lot of people were amazed by that, especially because I grew up without a computer at home and I had to invest a lot of time teaching myself how to program with the computers at school. When I got my laptop I just threw myself into work.”