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Hackathon: Empowering Communities Through Finance

On Saturday 24th June, Melbourne IT Enterprise Services held its first truly nation-wide Hackathon, featuring teams from across Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. This year’s event was focused on the theme “Empowering Communities Through Finance”. Our teams were challenged to create projects that used financial tools, services, and infrastructure to create more equitable and empowered societies.

Watch our Hackathon

The event kicked off at 8:30am with a delicious breakfast, and free t-shirts and tote bags full of goodies for all participants. From there, the teams bunkered down in different corners of the office and started brainstorming their ideas. The rest of the day was spent busily hacking, executing, and testing ideas before the final presentations at 4:30pm.

Team MoneyBot: Kamal Kamal Mohamed and Geetu Narahari (from Melbourne), with Jeremy Apps, Glenn Bolton, and Samer Butrous (Brisbane) dialling in via videolink.

Team MoneyBot: Kamal Kamal Mohamed and Geetu Narahari (from Melbourne), with Jeremy Apps, Glenn Bolton, and Samer Butrous (Brisbane) dialling in via videolink.

Justin Parcell, Sandeep Sehgal, and Yannick Lawrence (Team Change for Good).

Justin Parcell, Sandeep Sehgal, and Yannick Lawrence (Team Change for Good).

Here’s a brief summary of the projects:

TinderInvest (Melbourne): A platform for connecting investors to people who do not have access to capital to start a business or get a job, to help them lift themselves above the poverty line or improve their lives and support their families. Blockchain makes it possible because it enables peer to peer direct payments that are efficient, trusted, secure and transparent – cutting down costs and possibility for corruption. TinderInvest is for everyone, including people that want to invest small amounts from as little as a few dollars, and wanting to have a big positive impact.

Ana.Bot (Melbourne): A chatbot that helps women plan their superannuation contributions and maximise their retirement savings. With 1 in 3 women retiring with no super at all, Ana.Bot is designed to provide practical tips and advice to women in order to help them increase their super balances and allow them to approach retirement with greater financial security.

Change for Good (Melbourne): An app that allows users to connect their bank account and have their purchases rounded up to the nearest dollar. These funds are then used to make donations to charities listed on the app. Donors can change the distribution patterns of their donations whenever they like, and are able to support causes with urgent, unanticipated requirements (such as natural disaster relief), as well as a range of other charities.

MoneyBot (Brisbane, Melbourne): A financial life coach, making financial planning services more accessible to the wider community. Using smart analytics, MoneyBot tracks user behaviour, provides personalised advice, and budget threshold alerts, to help users meet their financial goals and stay within their budget.

The Sun Fund (Sydney): 1 in 5 people on earth does not have access to electricity – the majority of whom live in Sub-Saharan Africa. The increase of low-cost smartphones and government support for microfinance has opened up new opportunities for renewable energy. The Sun Fund app provides microfinance to these remote communities so they they can access renewable energy technologies such as solar panels. This allows communities to become self-sufficient, and also increases quality of life.

Lora (Sydney): A machine-learning powered companion for mindful spending. Lora fights financial illiteracy by creating a user profile based on your spending habits and provides offers and spending predictions to help you make smarter financial decisions.

Finance For Social Purpose (Brisbane): A platform that allows interested institutions can allow their discretionary spend on charities and community groups to be decided through their customers. Using a connected platform, local charities and community groups can register for a grant, organisations can choose a selection of local causes to support within a set time period, and customers can vote for whichever cause they want to receive the grant.

At the end of the day, four prizes were awarded. TinderInvest took home the title of Most Innovative, Change for Good was recognised as having the Biggest Social Impact, and Ana.Bot was awarded Best Execution. Finally, the People’s Choice Award went to Lora, which our staff deemed to best embody the spirit of the event.

Thanks to our amazing team for all their hard work on the day and for putting so much effort into making the day a success! Onwards to our next Hackathon!

Want more...you can also listen to interviews of our Hackathon participants about their projects and the innovative ways they’re bringing their ideas to life - check out the podcast

Author: Maisy Stratford-Hutchings, Marketing and Events Manager

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