JOHANNESBURG - A team of University of Cape Town (UCT) students have come together to form a start-up company, Zaio. 

The start-up assists student developers to build an information technology skills profile through coding challenges and practical experience, hopefully helping them to land their dream job and thus become financially independent.

At the same time, the Zaio platform provides other start-ups with access to affordable web and app development.

The team comprises of seven students: Mvelo Hlophe, Thando Hlongwane, Mihlali Xozwa, Harjot Singh, Akhil Boddu, Ntuthuko Mpaku and Asif Hassam, all of whom have an interest in technology and entrepreneurship.

Zaio was formed in October 2017, when Hlongwane realised that one of the biggest issues he faced was not having any practical experience.

Hlongwane says: “Guys like Mvelo, who are aspiring entrepreneurs, were finding it very difficult to prototype and create innovations, because it’s really expensive to build tech.”

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.

“Someone who comes to Zaio might ask us to build out a prototype. This is normally an entrepreneur or a start-up. If that’s the case, we will deploy a team of developers. These people are now competent enough to build out a prototype for a start-up,” Boddu says.

But there is an alternative approach: “Another way is that they’re simply looking for manpower, Because we’re upskilling all of these developers, we can easily provide developers to companies,” Boddu says.