Microsoft, HP Team Up For Social Impact Hackathon In Israel
This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Israel (JDC-Israel), a humanitarian assistance organization, teamed up with tech giants like Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard (HP) for a first JDC Social Impact Hackathon to help vulnerable Israelis. The hackathon was held in Israel earlier this month.
Bringing together 100 programmers and designers, as well as 30 mentors from seven global tech companies, the Social Impact Hackathon used technology to create apps and programs to solve the challenges faced by at-risk Israeli populations like the elderly and people with disabilities.
Out of nearly 100 social impact ideas that were put forward, 21 were chosen to be developed, with three receiving top prizes. Participants worked in teams on tech solutions evaluated by judges from JDC, the tech industry, and the NGO sector.
“One of the hallmarks of JDC’s work in Israel is channeling cutting-edge innovation in a variety of sectors, like the booming tech industry, to ensure a better life for Israelis whose needs aren’t met by established social services,” said the CEO of the JDC, David Schizer. The aim, he said, was to work with tech leaders, the Israeli government and hackathon participants to “make Israel a better place for those living on the edges of society.”
First prize went to Connected Community, an app for managers of senior communities to efficiently follow up with clients, prioritize goals, and manage emergencies. Second prize went to Yad2All, a platform for people with disabilities to access rental apartments via the web. And third prize went to IRemember, an app to help the elderly track daily medication schedules and family members’ birthdays.
The winning groups will continue the development process via a new social entrepreneurship hub set up by JDC-Israel and Israel’s National Insurance Institute.
“We saw some great ventures that hold potential for serving populations in need and can truly become valuable tools for JDC professionals in their work at the Social Impact Hackathon,” said Elion Tirosh, an early stage investor, tech entrepreneur, and JDC Board member, who served as a judge. “The atmosphere enabled everyone to engage in open, non-formal efforts to identify real life needs and find matching solutions that can solve their target population’s needs.”
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