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Hackathon unites tech and creative sectors for good



It took only three days for creatives and tech enthusiasts to come together and develop innovative solutions to some of Jamaica’s biggest challenges. How did they do this? Through ‘Hack the City’, an annual Kingston Creative and IDB Lab funded event that focuses on finding solutions that will positively impact achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).


The hackathon resulted in the funding of apps that would address problems surrounding waste management, secure and safe travel, and improvement in public transportation.



The first place winner of Hack the City was team ‘Kris N’ Klean’.


Day one of Hack the City saw 42 participants engaging in a mixer hosted at the Kingston Creative Hub and F&B Downtown at 107 Harbour Street, which allowed them to network and form teams. The highlight of the evening was a talk on ‘Creativity and Social Impact’ led by Rhian Holder, senior manager, Social Development & M&E Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF). Day two of the hackathon opened with a keynote address by UNESCO Yuri Peshkov, culture programme specialist, UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean, who spoke about the relevance of the SDG’s to Jamaica and the role that creative practitioners can play in the achievement of the global goals.



Second place went to team ‘Swaze’.


The teams started to create their ideas as they attended workshops on Ideation, Planning & Cost Formulation and Pitch Rehearsal. They were provided the chance to network with expert mentors from entities like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, ZRISE, It’s Pixel Perfect, Biz Headstart, Slashroots, Alpha – The Three Wolves Limited and the Jamaica Technology and Digital Alliance (JTDA).



Third place team, ‘Future Minds’, cheesing at Hack the City.


“It was great to see the collaboration between techies and creatives” commented Kingston Creative Entrepreneurship Project Manager Tavia Benjamin.

“The use of technology drives innovation in the creative sector and we believe that not only can meaningful ideas come out of the hack, but investable projects, long-term partnerships and businesses too.”


Janice Dacres-Jones of Biz HeadStart Jamaica, and Kerrie-Ann Richards, entrepreneur development specialist at Kingston Creative, provided guidance on how to apply what they learned in the training sessions to their business solutions and pitches.

Five teams advanced to day three and pitched to a panel of four judges, Dr Kadamawe K’nife, Lecturer & Researcher, UWI, Lastarda Lee, Chief Technology Officer, It’s Pixel Perfect, Jean-Claude Walters Dunn, Founder of ZRISE, and Adrian Dunkley, President, The Jamaica Technology and Digital Alliance.




The first place winner of Hack the City was team ‘Kris N’ Klean’, who won $150,000 towards the implementation of an application that would create an ecosystem to improve garbage collection by connecting end-users (households) to waste management service providers. Second place went to team ‘Swaze’, who won $75,000 towards creating a tool that enhances the safety of travelers by giving users awareness of the risks of places they intend to travel to in real-time. In third place was team ‘Future Minds’, who won $25,000 towards the development of the ‘Du Road App’, that provides real-time data to commuters, empowering them to confidently make informed decisions of when and where public transportation is available.


All ideas generated in the hackathons can be viewed here.

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