The definition of a geek is someone who is well versed when coming to anything technology related, but not necessarily socially inept. Geeks are never associated with those otherwise known as ‘cool’ or popular, these are people who have a knack for technology and gadgets but are not necessarily easily accepted in social circles. I met the founder of Geekulcha, a platform for ‘geeks’ to interact, share information and have access to industry experts. I met up with tech entrepreneur Mixo Fortune Ngoveni housed at the MLab at the Innovation Hub, and I was pleasantly surprised to see him dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, sneakers and a straight cap. It’s not that he was not dressed like someone who owns a company that phased me, I could look past that, I was more surprised to see that he looked nothing like a ‘geek’.
The word ‘geek’ is synonymous with isolation, and I had to make a mental note to merge the word geek with culture. This is how the name “Geekulcha” came up, Mixo had a vision to create a community for ‘geeks’ where they’re in a world where they fit in, pretty ironic I know. What started as merely a Facebook page has grown to be a technology hub for young and emerging tech enthusiasts. What was once named INNOvators.IT was merely a Facebook page that would connect IT students with industry experts, is now a company that is revolutionising the culture of techies in SA. When Mixo entered the Microsoft Imagine Cap competition he was reeled into the reality of what other students are exposed to in their institutions which he felt was missing at his then college, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). His appointment by Microsoft to be a student ambassador for his college was a platform that he used to create synergy between his fellow students and Microsoft and then later decided to expand it into a business.
His vision goes beyond just creating a viable business model, he has a passion for what he does. Having studied electronic engineering initially, he dropped out and decided to pursue his love for tech and feed his obsession for mobile app development by doing Business Informatics through TUT. The mLab where Geekulcha is based is flooded with mobile app developers, basically it’s a collaborative workspace where creative minds interact and share knowledge and gain skills. Mixo finds it hard to associate Geekulcha and its success to himself, he says it’s more about the people, which is the main reason he started this initiative. I admire his vigour and passion for grooming young talent and exposing them to the ‘real world’, whether they go corporate or pursue entrepreneurship Geekulcha’s mandate is to make sure that they are well aware of the task that lies before them.
Geekulcha hosts a number of events Hackathons, IT competitions, tech events and other tech related workshops where they include these students and have them participate inorder to put their knowledge to practise. In true entrepreneurial spirit, Mixo saw a gap in the market and decided to create a business out of it, and now it is growing into a revolution, where being a ‘geek’ is the new cool. Mixo confronted the perception that being a geek is all about sitting infront of your PC screen and wearing glasses, he decided to create a community of geeks who will be change agents in the tech space in the future. Life has meaning when you use what you have to impact the lives of others and we salute Mixo for making education and intellect a priority amongst school pupils, where substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and unemployment seem to hijack the lives of our youth. It sounds cliché, but the reality is that the youth are the future of this country. We cannot wait to hear about a big shot entrepreneur, minister or the next billionaire emerge from Geekulcha.