This past weekend we hosted our first Hackathon, Hack 4 Power. We invited South Florida hackers to develop tech-based tools to help the Miami-Dade Transit Authority and enhance the online presence of local small businesses.
On November 4 and 5, teams undertook the challenge of developing websites, applications and platform solutions that contribute to more efficient businesses. Their work stimulated the neighborhood and helped businesses participate in the digital economy.
There exists a digital divide in South Florida – a separation that keeps certain individuals, specifically from lower socio-economic status, from accessing the digital economy due to lack of exposure and training in the use of technology. To close the digital divide, we created the Digital Citizens Bootcamp, a comprehensive 8-week intensive course in the practical use of a wide range of web-based tools and and applications necessary for the Digital Economy. Students learn skills such as programming, SEO, web marketing and more.
“The first EcoTech hackathon presented an opportunity for our bootcamp students and other hackers to apply their knowledge to real world problems and improve the digital presence of deserving businesses,” says Dr. Pandwe Gibson, Founder and CEO.
November 4th was the hackathon kickoff and teams used this time to register, network and have strategy sessions with the businesses they would be working on. The businesses included Victorious Fundraising Solutions, Geeks Global, Overtown Media, Liberty City Trust and Miami Dade Transit Authority.
Teams were allowed to stay overnight and begin working. For those that didn’t stay overnight, they returned at 6:30 am on Saturday, November 5th. We provided breakfast, lunch, snacks and tunes. Sang for Lunch, a local startup that provides musical entertainment during lunch hours, pumped the team up with feel good music.
We also had Prowise, an educational software company, showcase their touchscreens and demo how they can be used for presentations, classroom use and more.
The room was filled with collaboration, energy and innovation.
At the end of the day, each team presented to a panel of judges including Dr. Pandwe Gibson (CEO and Founder of EcoTech Visions), Rebecca Fishman Lipsey (Founder and CEO of Radical Partners), and Gihan Perrera (Executive Director of Florida New Majority).
The top three projects are described below.
1st Place: The first place team of Christian Chavarro and Kayssar Kayyall created an app that allows users to see where Miami Dade Transit buses were in real time and which bus they should take to get to their destination quicker.
2nd Place: Yamileth Medina and Woody Beckham redid Geeks Global’s website to have better lead generation and a seamless process to book services.
3rd Place: Meisha Hall and her mother, Tiffany McGee, worked on Overtown Media to create a new user friendly website.
Thank you to our sponsors as well!