The June SovTech Hackathon
Written by Gregory Hill
This year, SovTech hosted its fourth annual 24-hour Hackathon, filled with hundreds of lines of code, many different business models, plenty of snacks and lots of coffee to fuel the various teams.
Each hackathon is a competitive, fun and adrenaline-fuelled event and this year’s one was no exception! So, what is a hackathon and what went down this year at SovTech?
A Software Development Marathon 🏃
A hackathon is a social coding event typically hosted by a tech-based company where teams of developers, designers, project managers, business strategists and general industry experts get together to build an awesome piece of software that solves a specific problem within a sprint-like limited time frame, typically 24-72 hours.
The word ‘hackathon’ is a mash up of the words hacker and marathon. These ‘hackers’ are exploratory, innovative and curious software developers, eager to use their skills to build high quality solutions for specific problems and hopefully win some cool prizes along the way. The organiser of a bbn hackathon generally chooses a theme, decides on the prizes, sets the judging criteria, picks a jury and arranges food and drinks. The majority of hackathons are held within the tech space but some can be found in other areas such as HR.
Hackathons are used to encourage intrapreneurship by removing any typical development constraints and giving its participants creative freedom and support needed to pursue innovative ideas. Participants don’t only get to build cool software solutions but get to learn, share ideas, network and ultimately have plenty of fun.
Oftentimes teams get to interact with and present their ideas to company sponsors, partners, incubators and accelerators. After the event organisers and partners are given the opportunity to sign a contract with the winning team which can and do lead to many new and exciting opportunities for both the team, organiser and partner.
These events are driven by competition and collaboration while having few if not zero frameworks or methodologies imposed on the teams, thus making it a highly productive event.
It’s time for Web3, crypto and blockchain baby! 🎉
Each year the hackathon teams at SovTech are given the opportunity to develop a product or piece of software that has the potential to hatch and grow into something amazing, hence the name Hatch22.
SovTech is a leading software development company and so it was no surprise that this year’s theme was none other than Web3. Web3 is one of the latest buzz-words to hit the tech scene, which of course made many of our developers very excited. Web3 is a hypothetical vision of what the next generation of the internet can look like, characterised as being decentralised, built on the blockchain. The biggest selling point being your ability to own and have control over your own data, experiencing greater privacy and the opportunity to have a financial stake in the communities you join online.
Each participant across SovTech was given the opportunity to submit a few ideas for any blockchain based solution they could think up beforehand. On the day of the hackathon each participant was allocated to a specific group and each group automatically assigned roles between themselves. The teams, composed of junior and senior employees across various departments and job roles, then had to brainstorm and discuss which idea among them they wanted to pursue for the 24 hours.
The catch: the software solution had to be connected to the blockchain in some way.
Each group approached the theme differently and in their own unique and creative way. Most started off with a proposed business model with a detailed revenue model and go-to market strategy. The jury, which consisted of department heads, occasionally did check-in’s with each team, hearing out their ideas, evaluating their progress and offering suggestions and words of advice.
After the ideas had been sufficiently fleshed out each team turned their focus to the actual designing and development of the software. The teams made use of version control software like GitHub and BitBucket to work collaboratively on the same code repositories.
A Memorable Experience ✨
No hackathon is complete without a ‘bit’ of partying and fun. This year’s one coincided with SovTech’s 10th birthday. So, apart from the intense focus, teamwork and competition, the 24 hours was filled with partying, socialising and celebrations. Everyone had so much fun that oftentimes you’d forget they were competing against one another. The day, which started with an amazing breakfast buffet, slowly turned into a night of foosball, dancing and drinking. Filled with laughs and a great time with friends.
Thanks to one of the participants being a talented DJ, we occasionally took dance breaks throughout the night which rejuvenated and inspired everyone to keep going.
A few individuals had too much fun and by morning had long fallen asleep.
The Results 🧑💻
The team that came out on top was team 9: MetaGreen Trading.
They found that farmers in South Africa (SA) have a difficult time removing alien trees from their land, particularly due to the sheer cost of removal. They also noted that regular SA companies have a challenging time scoring Economic, Social and Governance (ESG) points. They saw an opportunity and came up with a genius idea. They decided to develop a platform that made use of tokenomics and smart contracts on the blockchain to offer farmers the opportunity to list these removal projects on their MetaGreen platform for any company willing to fund it. Once funded the smart contract would be completed and the funder offered verifiable ESG points in return.
If you want to find out more about what happened during the hackathon be sure to check out our instagram page.
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