Create solutions for pressing social problems in the country and the regions. This was the call of global innovators network Impact Hub Manila for its largest hackathon dubbed, “Impact Hackathon.” Over 1,700 participants from across the country rose up to the challenge. One of them was a team of young students from Bacolod.
When age is really just a number
Crimera is formed by 5 high school students and a fourth grader who were part of Bacolod’s Kids Can Code (Kicaco), a programming and innovation club. 9-year old Allen Blaauw, the youngest in the team, is one of the students in Kicaco where they learn about programming, electronics, and design thinking, among others.
Like the other teams, Crimera was presented with a selection of problems about health, education, agriculture, climate change, and smart cities. After going through an ideation workshop and bootcamp, the team pitched the Crimera mobile app which makes it possible for citizens to quickly report crimes and other concerns in their communities by capturing photos and data using their smartphones. Through a reporting system, Crimera hopes to aid organizations to be more efficient in responding to issues reported by the members of their communities.
Of over 186 new projects generated in hackathons in different cities, Crimera finished in the top 5, proving that no matter your age, anyone can help find solutions to society’s challenges, with the right skills, tools, and teamwork.
We asked them about their experience in joining Impact Hackathon, which also serves as the main platform of the multi-year Impact 2050 program dedicated to help entrepreneurs scale their impact.
Hacking safe and smart cities
We did not know what kind of problem statements we could expect. We got a long list with many different problems to solve. We filtered the list on problems we thought we could solve, which were only 3. We chose to solve the reporting of crimes because solving this problem would create the biggest impact of the three filtered problems.
With some help from the others, Ellen (Ellen Blaauw, Grade 7) and Axel (Axel Belnas, Grade 9) created the prototype of the app for the reporting of crimes. Luis prepared the slide deck, and Andre did research and created the text for the pitch. Pitching was done by Allen, our 9-year old, and Andre. The demo was done by Ellen and Andre.
We found the hackathon atmosphere really inspiring. It makes you think about problems that society is facing, and it makes you focus on a problem because you only have 24 hours to come up with the minimum viable product (MVP) of the solution, all while you prepare documentation and pitching of the MVP. With plenty of food and drinks, we did our work!
Although nervous, the presentation and demo before the jury went well. We watched all the other teams do their pitch, and then the waiting started. We expected the winners to be announced later in the evening but it was still not announced before we went to bed. The next day, we got a message on Facebook that we won the Students Category. We did it! And we are going to Manila!
Getting permission to leave school for some of the students was not that easy, but in the end, we were able to make arrangements to fly to Manila with the whole team.
In Manila, we heard an inspiring talk by pitching coach Artie Lopez (Thanks, Sir!). Allen then knew how to feel like superman afterwards. Allen needed to do the pitching on his own because this time, only 1 person was allowed to pitch. Allen practiced his pitch, while Ellen and Andre practiced for the demo and question-and-answer.
Our pitching went very well, and the waiting started again. Would we be in the top 15 to pitch again on the big stage the next day? The top 15 were announced the following day.
They announced 1 winner every hour, and after 4 hours, we found out that we qualified to the top 15. We were the fourth team to pitch the next day. 5 minutes before it was our turn to pitch, we found out that we were not allowed to use any slides while doing our pitch and demo. Despite this latest change, we believe we once again did well. The jury understood our product, and their questions were answered.
Then it was waiting time again for the announcement of the grand winner. A startup team from Manila won, but we know we were the biggest winner in beating all odds, landing fifth place among all college and university students, professionals, and startups. We are now part of the Impact Hub community, with many opportunities on our way. Now comes the time to make our project a reality during the one-year incubation time.
The journey is just starting to make our idea work.
We analyzed our project, and started to define what needs to be done to make our project come to life. We know we have to learn a lot and that we need to learn a new mobile app development platform. Until now we have all been learning Flutter, the mobile app development platform from Google, using online courses. We are supposed to finish our online courses and start on designing and developing the app during the summer break. The virus outbreak prevents us to come together, but we are still learning.
Learn more about Crimera by following Impact 2050 on Facebook or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch out for updates about Impact Hackathon 2020. Be the first to know how we can work together to make impact happen.
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