In 2023, over 150 employees entered the Entelect Tech Accelerator – Entelect’s initiative that supports and promotes employees working on pet projects.
First launched in 2014 as a training initiative, Tech Accelerator (Tech Acc) offers employees (affectionately known as Entelectuals) the exciting opportunity to hone their tech prowess and enhance their entrepreneurial and collaborative skills.
Entrants work on anything from incubators to new businesses, apps, social initiatives or even projects focused exclusively on experimenting with emerging technology.
It also provides opportunities for role exploration, as cross-pollinating roles within teams allows for close learning.
The point of the Entelect Tech Accelerator is to learn and grow, so the ideas and IP built during this project belong to the participants and not Entelect.
Zakiya Safi, Software Engineer and Tech Accelerator Coordinator explained:
“The goal of Tech Accelerator is to create an innovative training opportunity, where our people get to choose to learn the tech that they are interested in and create something cool in the process.”
Tristan van Dam, Team Lead and fellow Tech Accelerator Coordinator added:
“Technology is constantly evolving, and we want our people to have exposure to new tech, practices, processes and protocols, in a symbiotic relationship that benefits Entelect and our customers, as well as those involved.”
How it works
Entelect allocates eight hours a month for entrants to work on projects, sponsors a budget for any hardware or tooling needed, and assigns time from Senior Tech and Team Leads to each project.
The programme runs each year and signing up is as simple as pitching an idea and letting the Entelect Project Leads know the tooling, hardware and infrastructure required.
Projects are completed over the year, and during that time Entelect hosts a series of hackathons where teams work at an accelerated pace.
The hackathons are dedicated in-office days in which teams get together to accelerate progress on their projects.
Participants are assigned mentors like UX designers, business analysts, solutions architects, and people of influence who are on hand to help them alleviate any sticking points.
The Tech Accelerator culminates in a year-end event where projects are showcased and judged by a panel, in a Shark Tank-style day of pitching and presenting.
The projects are evaluated on several categories such as technical innovation, difficulty, quantity of progress achieved throughout the year, final presentation, and utility.
The scores are tallied, and the winners are announced at the year-end function. Cash prizes are awarded to those who place in the top three.
2023 has proven to be the biggest year in Tech Acc history yet, with a record number of entrants and some impressive projects.
- One team launched an open-source VSCode extension with more than 400 downloads.
- One team’s project has piqued the interest of multiple schools and universities, and they’ve been contacted by the SiSwati National Lexicographic Unit to help with digitizing indigenous languages.
- One team brought a toy car to explain complex math, physics and engineering principles.
- One team can deploy code automatically to production within 4 minutes of it being written.
- One team has already reached 500 users and has onboarded 3 companies onto their system.
The coordinating team has big plans for 2024 and the future, including involving external entrepreneurs and founders as mentors and judges, and scaling to fit the demand of expected entrants.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved this year with Tech Accelerator,” said Safi.
“This training initiative is close to my heart, and I feel privileged to be part of the organizing committee, helping my colleagues work on some truly amazing projects.”
Added van Dam: “From competing in Tech Accelerator to now co-running the initiative, it is still hard to believe that a company can run such an amazing initiative like this.”
“2023 has been our best year yet, with more participants than ever, more engagement from the broader Entelect community in the participant’s projects, the highest calibre of projects to date, and multiple projects have gone live during the year and have been released to the public.”
Entelect was founded in 2001, inspired by the vision to be a technology service company that delivers quality solutions with exceptional talent.
Now, with over 20 years of experience, Entelect offers end-to-end technology services and solutions through a set of best-practice, team-based engagement models that help its customers go from good to great.
Entelect is currently working on over 150 active projects in virtually all industries across Africa, Europe and Australasia – with over 1,500 qualified software professionals operating from nine global offices.
The services provided by these professionals range from strategy, digital transformation, and experience design to custom development, testing, and data and analytics.
At its core, Entelect is a culture-first organisation and is recognised as a magnet for outstanding technology talent.
Its talented professionals challenge their customers’ thinking to gain a proper understanding of their businesses, and focus on engineering solutions that deliver real returns.