The tech world unites against corona during online hackathon HACK THE CRISIS

The corona virus affects our society as a whole and brings along unseen, yet very real societal challenges. As a result, the tech and startup world come together to launch a public platform to create dedicated solutions during an online hackathon: HACK THE CRISIS. Inspired by previous initiatives in other European countries, the Belgian edition will be an intense weekend during which several teams will work remotely on various economic and social problems, all of which are linked to the corona crisis. This public online event invites developers, innovative companies, tech players, research institutions, creatives, and everyone who wants to join forces to, virtually, put the minds together and come up with innovative solutions to counter this crisis.

An innovative and rapid response to tackle this imminent corona crisis. That is what the online hackathon “HACK THE CRISIS” is all about. It is a truly global movement and the event will now also be taking place in Belgium during the weekend of March 27 – 29. Previously, similar hackathons have been organized in countries like Germany, Finland, Estonia and Latvia, inspiring a group of volunteers from the Belgian startup community to bring the HACK THE CRISIS movement to their country as well.

“The idea was already taking shape as people from various industries asked if I could help them with a digital solution for rather traditional industries, like healthcare. When I stumbled across the Lithuanian edition and found out about the Garage48 platform in Estonia, I knew we should bring the concept to Belgium. The Estonian event had over 1,000 participants committed to coming up with solutions in order to better deal with the social consequences of Covid-19”, says Lieven Janssen, one of the organisers of HACK THE CRISIS Belgium.

Although the hackathon is officially happening during the weekend, everyone can already contribute with a challenge or a specific problem on the event website www.hackthecrisis.be. These should be easy to find, as people currently living in quarantine all experience some of these challenges on a daily basis. Think about the problems we face in our education system, mental health concerns, the distribution of food, the logistics sector, employment, following up on learning objectives, and the list can goes on. A careful selection of the challenges will be made and afterwards, a group of mentors will assign the registered participants to complementary teams and will guide them during the weekend.

The organisation of HACK THE CRISIS Belgium invites various industries and sectors from the business world, the tech world and the creative sector to come together and use the necessary professional experience and skills to develop real, sustainable solutions for the current problems we are facing due to this crisis. Sponsors and mentors are also invited to sign up to support the initiative. The HACK THE CRISIS platform quickly attracted dozens of Belgian companies, organisations and industry leaders who wish to actively provide knowledge and resources to tackle this crisis. In addition, the list of hackathon participants and mentors is growing steadily. Upon hearing about the initiative, the event was joined by Startit @ KBC, EY, Proximus, Volta Ventures, Hoplr, Voka …  The Flemish government also supports the project.

The online hackathon will start on Friday, March 27, and will be fully organised remotely, using the latest video technology and online collaboration platforms. During this 2-days hackathon, all teams are asked to develop a concrete solution for the selected challenges. Participants can register both as a team or as an individual. A closing online session will take place on Sunday 29 March at 6 pm, during which the results will be presented to the general public. Anyone who is interested will be able to follow the live stream.

“I am convinced that proactive companies, technology players and developers can make a significant contribution by finding innovative solutions and managing the challenges posed by this global pandemic. These challenges are incredibly diverse and can be of an economic, medical, educational, logistic, social or psychological nature, thus everyone can contribute with their skills and experience”, states Lieven Janssen.

Finally, the organisation of HACK THE CRISIS Belgium emphasizes that, as the quarantine continues after the hackathon, the aim of this initiative is to also offer on the long term a connecting platform to people from the business, tech and creative sector around this common theme. Therefore, the hackathon will hopefully be the starting point of a sustainable collaboration platform where people and governments can identify problems and where teams can be deployed in the relatively short term to come up with concrete solutions to counter this crisis.

HOW TO CONTRIBUTE TO HACK THE CRISIS?

IT, business, marketing, … professionals who want to participate in the hackathon can register as a team or as an individual here: https://bit.ly/2WBV89o

Everyone can register ideas and problems requiring a solution here: https://bit.ly/2xdGBGi

Mentors who want to support and advise the teams during the hackathon can register here: https://bit.ly/39cW0nx

Sponsors or partners who want to provide people, knowledge or any other support can register here: https://bit.ly/33EaStP

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