3..2..1..SELFIE! That’s how Hackamena kicked off at In5 at 7pm on Thursday, April 2nd 2015. Full of energy and excitement, geeks and entrepreneurs huddled up on the ground floor of the villa where In5 is located. “ARE YOU READY TO CHANGE THE WORLD?” asked the host of the evening, and the response from the audience was nothing less than extraordinary. They roared, “YEAH!”.
#Hack4Impact was the official hashtag of the event and as soon as the hashtag was announced, tweets started rolling in.
The first speaker on Thursday night, Ahmad Rabieh, gave an amazing keynote about the power of mobile applications in this age. “Instagram was sold to Facebook for one billion dollars. To build the Burj Khalifa, it cost one billion dollars. Which is easier, writing some computer code or building a Burj Khalifa?”
The techies and entrepreneurs were there to solve social problems by utilising technology. And they have to solve these problems in teams of 3-5. After the attendees pitched their ideas, the ideas went through a voting process and 12 ideas were chosen. The attendees worked on these ideas throughout the 72 hours they were given. The event featured many startup incubators like Hi2 (Hamdan Innovation Incubator) and other incubators.
On Friday morning, the two featured speakers were Shaima Ghafoor and Sallyann Della Casa. They were phenomenal. Shaima was super interactive by telling the attendees her story with entrepreneurship and how they can learn from her mistakes and successes. Sallyann was full of energy and the attendees were taking notes like crazing! After their workshops, the attendees surrounded the Shaima and Sallyann and didn’t want them to leave.
The rest of day continued with another workshop on making a startup at minimal cost and then the attendees continued working on their ideas.
Saturday was full of excitement mixed with hope for winning the first prize. Just before the pitching session at night, the team practiced their pitches and received feedback from the mentors and organizers. The turn out of the final pitching event was amazing with parents, friends, and of course, judges filling the room. The 12 teams pitched their ideas to the judges and three projects were selected. At 3rd place came “GLOBIO”, a project that updates users on news and happenings around the world in video. At 2nd place came “LESA”, and at 1st place came “Heart-Ping”, both of which are projects that help save the lives of patients who had a cardiac arrest. “Heart-Ping” team members won a trip to attend EXPO 2015. The other winning projects will receive incubation, mentorship, and other prizes.
All in all, the event was lots of fun with Roxane Jurkovskaja, one of the confounders of Hackamena, concluding, “it was a good start for a bigger journey.”