The inspiration of Untapped Culture is driven by a love for people and creativity. The internet has become an environment where is it easy for local creative content to go unnoticed. We at untapped wanted to bring the South African community together and help them grow in their specific fields, and the field that we decided to choose was the creative industry. Whether it be music, art, photography or video content, this type of creativity is a part of everyone’s life. Creativity has been around forever and it will always be around. And, because it’s a part of everyone’s life, it’s a very large target market, all around the world. It has no boundaries.

Over the years we have noticed that many highly talented individuals, who produce world class creative pieces do not get the recognition that they deserve, mostly due to the lack of resources and exposure – untapped addresses this issue by creating a single platform that connects these creative individuals to endless opportunities. By providing this platform, we help to build and grow communities by allowing users to create an official portfolio of all their work thus far. Many new website innovations have illustrated different ways in which multimedia communication can be used to build a recognizable brand and/or network. Untapped Culture isolates and places emphasis on certain activities and facilities that we believe are of vital importance to the growth of local creatives. In a country like South Africa, rich in creative talent but not getting the attention it deserves, we believe that untapped will soon be the central hub for all creatives to connect, share and inspire.

How It Works

The process is set out in a social networking environment where users upload content and build their own creative portfolio, an E-portfolio. Users can easily sign up by making use of the Facebook Login (OAuth 2.0). By being on the site you will be engaging with other local creatives alike, which helps place emphasis on your networking abilities and provides endless opportunities to draw inspiration, simply browse portfolios or even set up collaborations. More importantly, not only will you be engaging with other creatives, but your portfolio will be available to non-creatives, whether it be corporate companies who are looking to hire a creative individual, an individual who would like to do some freelance work, or even a model looking for a photographer to do a shoot for them – the opportunities are endless. Your content will be getting exposure to a plethora of individuals and companies which aids users in building their own personal brand/identity.

Just as LinkedIn is the gold standard for business professionals to engage with each other and present themselves to the corporate world, untapped will do the same for those in the creative industry.

How we built it

Challenges we ran into

Along the way, we have faced a wide array of challenges, that we have successfully overcome. Firstly, we had a limited amount of capital to get the project going. This is challenge meant that we could only afford one primary developer at the time. It also meant that we did not have much capital to spend on marketing the product. The challenges then extended to our knowledge of software programs. These software programs are relating to illustrative programs used to build our logo designs and others like animaker and canva.

Another challenge for us was choosing the right products for hosting and storage facilities. The concern being around future scalability, we searched for the right service to integrate into the website to take us from local, to AWS hosting and storage facilities.

The final technical challenge we ran into before submission of our project was the integration of the Facebook API’s. It was the first time that we had worked with Facebook API's which meant it took a while to get a hang of how best to implement it.

The financial challenges faced include price determination and future projections with no historical data. These challenges fall under feasibility and viability of our product/service. The answers to the questions posed, will be answered once the website builds in stature and gains popularity. The value of the product will be easier to determine once we have a better understanding on how the best user experience and product can be provided.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We have been able to communicate and learn from each other really well, both in a professional and creative sense. We all bring something different to the table and we have used this to create a product/service which we believe will appeal to the dynamic audience we would like to attain. So far we have just passed through our construction of our minimum valuable product and now would like to start our beta testing. We will continue to engage with our audience in order to create more facilities, within our platform, to enhance our user’s experience.

Further accomplishments include; learning the processes of creating a viable product/service, building logos, constructing marketing campaigns and making use of Facebook's API's.

Our main accomplishment that we are proud of is the fact that we have created a product that could potentially change the lives of the people that use the platform, by giving them the opportunities and exposure that they would have never been able to get otherwise.

What we learned

Throughout the development of Untapped Culture, we have learnt just how big the creative industry is in South Africa, being valued at over R90bn, yet at the same time we have learnt how up and coming creative individuals still struggle to make a breakthrough into the market.

We have discovered that a lot upcoming of local creatives find it difficult to get exposure and connect with other like minded creatives.This in turn causes a lot of talented creatives with limited credibility and an opportunity to build experience. There is no platform or community that encourages up-and-coming creatives to share, connect and get inspired. We have learned that creatives gain in confidence when their work is supported. This illustrated that a support structure needs to be place - support structures includes fans and other enthusiasts that they could possible have collaborations with in the future.

Having taken these observations into account we have isolated key elements and will continues to do so in order to improve on the efficiency and professional welfare of our local creatives.

What's next for Untapped Culture

Our next goal is to create further opportunities for our local creatives. This will be done by encouraging content supporters to participate and engage in the community. Indicating a clear support system for local creatives. The concept is based off the notion that users own their own data and should benefit from it. Therefore, content supporters must provide incentives for tasks completed. This will give creative entities the opportunity to have a direct line of dialogue with local creatives. This is something that we believe has been lacking in the industry. Most people and companies resort back to word-of-mouth for discovering local talents which is not as efficient as the online interactions which could be achieved through Untapped Culture.

We would also like to partner with universities, arts colleges and schools in the future. Partnering with these institutions will mean that they can purchase large amounts of storage space from us to give out to their students so that they can begin building their creative profiles as early as possible.

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