Man, this is easily the best book I’ve read this year. It’d been sitting on my bookshelf for a looooong time just waiting for me to pick it up. Muhammad Yunus is amazing. He wrote this book in 2007, yet it contains so many visionary and inspiring ideas around addressing poverty through innovative business models.
Over the weekend, I went to my first real hackathon. I say that because people actually code shit AND they actually stay up all night coding shit. 😱 They’re allowed to (and even encouraged to) sleep over and showers are provided!
This is actually my first real-time blog post. I wrote everything else in retrospect after being inspired by one of the other group’s ideas, Rekindly, which reminded me of the need to be able to reflect on any learnings from events. I’d been looking for a way to store all of my learnings from life in one place, and starting a blog came to mind.
Migrathon was a hackathon that promoted working with first-generation migrants to come up with a business idea that has a social impact. I love working in teams from diverse backgrounds. One of our team members arrived in Sydney from South Africa just ten days before! As a result of our diversity, when we brainstormed problems to solve, we got very varied responses. From finding ingredients for local cuisines to improving financial literacy to vaccines for hookworm!
Man, Malawi. It was warm alright. Both in terms of the weather and the lovely people. Contrary to my parents’ concerns and misconceptions, the locals were very warm and had the biggest smiles! Chatting with strangers on minibus rides yielded common topics of interest and I was struck by the realisation that they’re not too different from us.
The Global Water Hack was a hackathon to come up with a social enterprise to provide clean drinking water to rural communities in the developing world. It was quite unique as we were given real data and technology prototypes to work with in designing our solution. Our task was to find a way to use the mobile desalination system developed by the UNSW Chemical Engineering Faculty in a sustainable business model taking into account the realities in rural communities in India. It was a stark reminder of how lucky we are to be able to get clean(ish) drinking water from our taps.
Back at it again with the Enactus Pitchfest! We were given three issues to choose from: homelessness, environmental degradation and education. My team decided to address youth homelessness in Tasmania. After some brainstorming, we came up with the idea of a combined hostel and cafe that would shelter and employ homeless youth to provide a long-term solution to help them get back on their feet.
HackJustice2 was my first legal-centric hackathon! Over two days, my team came up with the idea to utilise optical character recognition software to scan standard letters relating to legal issues (e.g. evictions, social security benefits).
The New Wave Pre-Accelerator Program is an all-female introductory entrepreneurship program run by UNSW MCIC designed to encourage more females to think about starting a business. For once, I felt like I’d actually done something productive in my holidays. Over the course of two weeks, I learned the basics of starting a business, and all the turmoil that comes with it. It is not easy. But I got to meet many inspiring females and learn more about myself throughout the process. I now know what steps to take when I want to start my own business in the future.
I have Enactus to thank for introducing me to the concept of a ‘hackathon’ and the world of social enterprise. This really kickstarted my interest in learning more about social entrepreneurship – I can’t believe I hadn’t heard about it before! This being the first time I participated in a hackathon, there was a huge learning curve.