General News of Saturday, 21 February 2015
Source: Kojo Smith | GhanaWeb
The 2015 Hackathon yesterday, Feb 20th kicked off in Accra- Ghana- to begin the hunt for top talents with innovations that solve problems and transform society and the world at large.
The weekend event which started on Friday, February 20 to Sunday Feb. 22 brings together students, local business leaders to battle for the crown of who has the best idea and innovation to solve social problems that face West Africa.
Participants from Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast are working in small groups to put forward ideas that solve problems in key chosen areas of Education, Health, Design and Technology.
The Hackathon 2015, a Hack for Big Choices and Hub Accra, a growing startup ecosystem in Ghana initiative, is a global movement to empower talented people, aid them to solve problems by developing products and businesses. The 2015 edition in Accra, Ghana, is the biggest so far with lots of participation from around the continent assembling in The Hub Accra.
At the base, they provide workspace, access to internet. The Hub also houses a maker space and a US government-sponsored digital innovation lab, which they use to create mobile apps and more.
Co-founder of The Hub Accra, John Paul Parmiagi said, “we want to encourage entrepreneurs to spark truly impactful innovations that can better service their communities in a sustainable way. To solve local challenges through teamwork and technology.”
For 48 hours the participants in their chosen groups are expected to come up with solutions to teething problems in Health– sanitation, depression, prenatal complications, HIV prevention, improved follow-up –- Education– Nutrition –- Design and Technology– Food safety- with one winner chosen from each category.
A panel of judges carefully selected, will assess the innovative ideas of the participants and will, on Sunday, announce winners of the 2015 edition of the event. One winner from each of the three challenge areas will be chosen for a one-year scholarship to study and grow their startup with assistance from professionals at The Hub Accra and partnering institutions.
Hackathon 2015 is sponsored by US Embassy- Ghana, Broadcasting Board of Governors, Facebook/ internet.org, ABL, Airtel Ghana, Surfline, etc. and GhanaWeb.com providing media coverage.
In an interview with Aurora Christe of Hack for Big Choices, she intimated the country was abound with entrepreneurs who complain of no money to fund their businesses, but what was really needed was creating real value for the startups with the needed mentoring and support which Hackathon provides to propel a successful startup.
“We envision a landscape where African citizens source and adopt the best technologies to address local need, become emerging entrepreneurs and create impactful innovations,” she said.
She said, though Hack for Big Choices is a non-profit, winners will be helped in crowdsource solutions and leveraging their potential to engage multiple stakeholders around impactful issues.
Hack for Big Choices will offer significantly greater value by being focused on World-changing problems, increasing the amount of training and mentorship for pre-startup ventures, and by enabling access to global thought leaders and providing potential funding mechanisms through global awareness and outreach.