Photos: 2015 Hackathon Kicks off in Accra

The biggest hackathon ever in West Africa was kicked off yesterday, Feb 20th, in Accra- Ghana- to help top talent spur innovations that solve the biggest challenges in the region and transform society.

The weekend event brings together students, local business leaders, health care professionals and others to battle for the crown of the BEST solution to challenges in Healthcare, Design & Technology, and Education.

Participants from Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Ivory Coast (and as far away as Congo and Europe) – are working in groups to channel their diverse experiences and skills into sustainable business models, mobile applications, project ideas and more.

The hackathon, is being hosted by Hack for Big Choices and Hub Accra. Hack for Big Choices is a global movement to empower talented people and aid them to solve problems by developing products and businesses. Hub Accra is an innovation and coworking space that is a growing startup ecosystem in Ghana. The event is being held at the new Hub Accra venue.

At the base, Hub Accra provide workspace for entrepreneurs and creatives, and access to internet. The Hub also houses a maker space and a US government-sponsored digital innovation lab, which they use to create high-impact 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 transform their communities in a sustainable way. We want to see what happens when we try 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 Hub Accra and partnering institutions.

In an interview with Aurora Christe of Hack for Big Choices, she reported that the country was abound with entrepreneurs who complain of no money to fund their businesses, but what is really needed is to create real value for the startups through mentoring and support which the hackathon provides participants 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.

Source : Kojo Smith/ Ghanaweb