Monday, November 25, 2019

Impact Hub Manila and Philippines' Largest Hackathon

MAKATI CITY, Philippines. (November 19, 2019) Startup founders, representatives from government agencies and private corporations, top executives and consultants, and hackathon participating teams hailing from 13 cities across the Philippines came together as Impact Hub Manila concludes the Impact Hackathon at the 2050fest - the ultimate pitching event held at The Eye, Green Sun Hotel in Makati City on November 19, 2019.

Mounting the biggest hackathon in the Philippines is no small feat for Impact Hub Manila, even during this era of coding marathons. Not only was it successfully executed, but Impact Hub Manila has welcomed and embraced the best team of coders and IT professionals from various industries to its community as they push forward a common goal: to utilize the untapped potential of the country and create new solutions to the existing social problems of the world. In the same event, the leadership of Impact Hub Manila also announced Impact Hackathon 2020, this time, spanning beyond the Philippines and extending throughout Asia Pacific.

The event featured talks from industry experts, gave what Asec. Kristian Ablan of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office as the "budding innovators" an insight to the public-private department relations in the startup landscape, along with the existing initiatives and programs they could benefit from. Several talks followed which pre-empted the actual pitching were concluded with a session about community building moderated by 18-year-old technologist Audrey Pe of WiTech (Women in Technology) who said that "community-building is not easy." Experts in the field, including the likes of Andrew Wong of E3 Entrepreneur Hub, Robert Reyes of Mozilla Philippines, and Eah Antonio of YFPH all likened it to child-bearing, birthing, and raising - from the labor pains to remembering the why while looking at your child, and just powering through. Wong had said that once the why (mission and vision for startups) is clear, "Nothing is impossible, impossible is nothing."

One of the main highlights of the event were the actual pitching, where 15 of the MVP projects were chosen from the Impact Hackathon and presented before an esteemed panel of jurors.

The finalists included Herbal Plant (Vigan), Kugel Tech (Baguio), Dashwerq (Iligan), Crimera (Bacolod), UPark (Iloilo), MedFind(Batangas), NutriScan(Manila), Help Aid(Davao), iServe (Catbalogan), Hemria (Catbalogan), Agua Meter (Bacolod), Transfarm (Manila), Ayamica (Iloilo), Asboc (Batangas), and Transcash (Metro Manila). The pitching which lasted for approximately two hours, had presenters, ranging from age 9 to beyond 30, showing the judges the workings of their conceptualized solutions in a bid for support. The pitching was shortly followed by deliberations which lasted for some time, and eventually concluded with the announcement of Transfarm as the National Impact Hackathon winner.

Transfarm walked away with 170,000 php (70,000 of which was from winning the Manila leg of the hackathon) in cash prize and a full year incubation program that includes a global membership access to the Impact Hub network, intensive training, access to vast pool of expert mentors, network, and coworking. The year long incubation program is valued at over 1,500,000 pesos.

The top 15 apart from receiving the prizes from winning the student (15,000 php) and professional category (20,000 php) will also be receiving a full year of incubation support from Impact Hub Manila.

The winning IT-based solution, Transfarm, is an end-to-end ecommerce and marketing solution, created in a bid to bridge the gap between the local producers and the large scale business consumers with the goal of enabling farmers to appropriately market their harvest and avoid wastage from oversupply.

The team who made the winning pitch said that they were from different backgrounds, but "from the Hackathon, [we] really did our best to collaborate, deliberate, and build the idea."

Some of the mentors and judges also offered support, starting with PLDT who said that they "don't just provide support" but are also "ready to co-incubate." Jhaze Asuncion of Upscale Innovations Lab and Department of Science and Technology Tech-Business Incubators (DOST-TBI) lauded Impact Hub for the "great opportunity for startups from the regions" and said, "We will be more than happy to support these startups if they will apply to us incubators."

“This is how startups are born. You change everything on the fly." says Rondario of Impact Hub and added, "This event is not the end. This is the beginning. It is Day 0 and the real work starts tomorrow."

After acknowledging the support and presence of this year's event sponsors including Quezon City Government under the leadership of Mayor Joy Belmonte, the Araneta Group, Asian Development Bank, PLDT, Smart, NutriAsia, Unilab, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology PCIEERD, Department of Information and Communication Technology, the Tourism Promotion Board of the DOT, Freidrich Neuman Foundation, Dentsu Aegis Network, The PhilStar Group, Businessworld SparkUp, Microsoft Philippines, ClinkIT, Green Sun Hotel, KMC Solutions, ASEANHR, GIZ Philippines, Forest Foundation Philippines,Mozilla Philippines Community, DevCon Philippines, 2030 Youth Force Philippines, Edukasyon, Canva, Manila Wordpress, Women In Technology, Women Who Code, When In Manila, Alfox Printing Services, Google Developers Philippines, Girls Who Code, Deskera, Pantheon, Manila Angel Investors Network, JobStream Philippines, Global Entrepreneurship Network, Veer Philippines, PhilRobotics, PCI Tech Innovation Center and many more, Rondario also extended an invitation for partnerships for the Impact Hackathon 2020, as they prepare to launch a regional hackathon next year.

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