Caddie, a car-pooling app for women emerges as the winner of The Meera Kaul Foundation’s Women in STEM Smart City Hackathon 2016
* Participants ranged from ages 9 to 30 yrs, from across the MENA region
* More than 120 registrations were received for this program from women across the MENA region
Witnessing more than 50 young women in attendance for the biggest all women hack fest of the MENA region, the Women in STEM Hackathon 2016 organised by The Meera Kaul Foundation, as a part of their Women in STEM program came to a successful close on February 20th at Astro Labs, JLT. Starting off the two-day Smart City Hackathon in the early hours of February 19th with an event brief delivered by the Meera Kaul Foundation and a quick networking session, participants formed teams of five members each and got down to creating their app designs. Within 30 hours, the Foundation received 11 prototypes in all out of which the judges declared the app named Caddie, a carpooling app for women, presented by team Coding Circle as the winning design of the hackathon. Team WeSTEM who presented an app called the Feedback app, an interactive forum for the government to take feedback on policies, plans and other interventions, were awarded the second position. Additionally, due to an overwhelming submission of innovative and unique app ideas, Team Superwomen who created a health app for refugees were awarded a special commendation award, and were titled the second runner-up of the event.
The winning team at the Hackathon was awarded incubation courtesy the venue hosts, Astrolabs, for a duration of one month. To add to the plethora of rewards a four hour start-up advisory by the Sustainability Platform, and a discount worth 50% on all graduate programs at Middlesex University were also bestowed as a part of the winning package. And finally, the icing on the
tech-extravaganza package, cash vouchers from retail tech-hub E-City were also gifted to the winners. The runners-up team were the proud recipients of a premium gift hamper courtesy Cool and Cool, a 30% discount on all postgraduate degree programs from Middlesex University.
As a token of appreciation and in a bid to further help enhance and nurture the participating talent, the contestants who demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial skills will be considered by the Meera Kaul Foundation’s Grant to study at Draper University in San Francisco Bay Area, courtesy the foundation’s collaboration with the esteemed university.
Senior officials from renowned organisations like IBM, Arab Women in Computing, Dubai Silicon Oasis and Astro Labs were part of a diverse judging panel. Moreover, uniting a mix of cultures and nationalities from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the Gulf region to build a Smart City App for women, the tech prodigies at the hackathon were guided by mentors from Microsoft, IBM, Arab Women in Computing, Masdar Institute, Emirates NBD, Middlesex University, Heriot Watt and many others. Participants as young as nine were part of teams that worked on designing the most innovative Smart City App; other participants included students from schools, universities and also executive women up to the age of 30.
Commenting on the success of the Smart City Hackathon 2016, Meera Kaul, Chairperson at The Meera Kaul Foundation, said, “By hosting the hackathon for a second year in Dubai, we have received an overwhelming response from young women in STEM fields in this region. We are pleased to see the turnout and it makes us proud to confirm that the registrations overwhelmingly exceeded our expectations. We intend to support women in STEM fields on a larger scale by encouraging them to realize their tech talents and providing them with a platform to hone their skill sets. On this occasion, I am thrilled to announce that The Meera Kaul Foundation will be launching Women in Entrepreneurship classes for women in STEM industries in the near future. We will also be reaching out to young girls in schools with our School Club program to promote interest in STEM among school children, particularly girls.”
Additionally, the event also conducted a raffle draw in partnership with Acer, E-city and Recke to give away laptops, cash vouchers and smart-cookers respectively to the participants. Other sponsors and supportive partners included Jacky’s, Optimus, Parity, Cool & Cool & Sumo Sushi among others.