Hacklab is an annual hackathon and tech conference where students who develop/engineer practical digital solutions to everyday problems meet. In teams, they discuss the issues, identify the solutions and think forward on engineering solutions to solve them.  The aim of the event is to make Ghana a better place using technology.

Barcamp Ghana of the GhanaThink  Foundation also put together a forum to discuss issues around the theme of the event.

According to their website ( click here[http://hacklabgh.org]) their vision is to “Establish a technology driven economy where industry players, engineers, developers, designers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in technology work cohesively to make Ghana a better place.”

Ladies at the registration table of #stanbichacklab

The 2017 event is themed “Promoting financial inclusion through digital solutions”. The above was chosen because a huge number of adults across the globe have no access financial services you and I enjoy.

For example, people in rural areas often do not have  bank accounts not to even talk about insurance facilities.  And as we are gradually evolving into a cashless digital system, it will be impudent of us not to find solutions to help those who aren’t.

Again some selected Startups at the event get the rare opportunity of pitching their ideas to a panel of highly influential investors and industry men.

 

The hackathon

Participants are camped; technically for two nights to develop a solution in line with this year’s theme. Stanbic Bank’s flagship peer to peer mobile money application, Slydepay, is the money system acceptable for the challenge.

What happens at the end?

CASH PRIZE AWARDS
  • Winner – GHC 3,000.00
  • 1st Runner Up – GHC 1,00.00
  • 2nd Runner Up – GHC 400.00
  • Best Pitch – GHC 400.00
  • Best Idea – GHC 400.00
  • Most Promising Developer – GHC 400.00

Lmao that’s a lot to go home with! From a private conversation with the Curator; Foster, he stated that the best and promising solutions may be developed further after the event and also said that some  participants will gain internship opportunities with the partners.

DreamOval will also be organizing interviews for participants who are interested in either working with them or joining their internship program.

Day One.

After waiting for months The 31/ 03/17  was finally here. The Opening ceremony had the Hacklab Curator; Foster Akugri brief all present on what Hacklab is and what they aim at achieving. Barcamp Ghana; one of the Partners later addressed us on how pumped up they are to be a part of this event.

The Provost of the College Of Science; Prof. Mrs. Ibok Oduro  expressed her sincerest gratitude to the organizers for coming up with such an idea that brings students together to find solutions to everyday problems. She also entreated students not to just attend the event but also network; sharing how her success is pivoted to her network.

Participants hacking at the hackathon

A Computer Science lecturer in the stead of the Head of department; Dr. B. Hayfron Acquah  spoke on how happy they as a department are that students were using all that they’ve been taught in class to solve everyday problems.

Mr. Nana Dwemoh Benneh; Head, Personal and Business Banking at Stanbic Ghana spoke at length on the vision of his Bank and how they are poised to see what comes out of this. He also restated that Stanbic believes the future of banking is digital.  And declared the Hackathon officially launched.

Mr. Nana Dwemoh Benneh; the Head of personnel and Business Banking at Stanbic Ghana

Apparently so many individuals from  DreamOval’s Slydepay  service spoke that I lost track of when they did, lol. But they passionately spoke on the importance of their service, introduced the API and interacted with participants.

A design thinking session was later led by the the CEO of Kumasi Hive; a hardware incubator in Kumasi. Jorge spoke on the stages of coming up with design. He also emphasized the importance designing to fit the needs of the persons the product is meant to help.

At about 18:00 GMT  the hackathon went down!  The rules were spelt out by the judges. They coded till the Wolves howled midnight.