Hard day’s night in store for hackathon students
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Hard day’s night in store for hackathon students

Jewish youngsters aged between 12 and 18 will have 14 hours, starting after Shabbat, to design solutions to help improve education through technology.

Eye on the future: A Jewish interactive digital event for young people
Eye on the future: A Jewish interactive digital event for young people

Tech-minded students used to pulling all-nighters to meet their deadlines are set to pull an all-nighter and all-dayer in the community’s first entrepreneur’s ‘hackathon’ this Sunday.

Jewish youngsters aged between 12 and 18 will have 14 hours, starting after Shabbat, to design solutions to help improve education through technology.

Organisers say up to 50 participants will learn new and valuable skills in the process, with senior bosses from firms like Google on-hand to help, and those behind the winning entries set to take home prizes.

The initiative, media sponsored by Jewish News, is being held at Work Avenue in Finchley, starting at 5.30pm on Saturday 2 December and running through into Sunday, with tomorrow’s tech stars being helped by today’s industry leaders.

The Jewish community’s inaugural Entrepreneurship Interfaith Hackathon is being organised by Jewish Interactive, a charity using education to improve Jewish education, and Acorn Aspirations, which “nurtures entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity in young people”.

The winning solution will be chosen by a panel comprising industry experts, among them tech investor Andrew Wolfson, who said the learning would likely be two-way.

He said: “I am thoroughly looking forward to hearing the young people present their ideas and am in no doubt that I will learn something of value for the companies that my fund is an investor in.”

Judge Karen Harris, the managing director of shopping centre business Intu Digital, said youngsters had “a unique opportunity to jump into technology and entrepreneurship like no other generation before them.

“This event will not only facilitate the sharing of ideas, creativity and skills but will also enable young people from different backgrounds to learn from each other and have fun”.

Investor Jason Goodman, another judge, said events like this “give young people the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to become the change-makers of tomorrow,” adding: “I am looking forward to being part of this event and seeing the ideas the children come up with to improve education through technology.”

Jewish Interactive chief Chana Kanzen said: “I attended a hackathon organised by Acorn Aspirations a few months ago and was simply blown away by the skills and abilities the students developed in just a few hours.

“I created this event and lobbied for the timing to start later on a Saturday, so all of our community can have the opportunity to benefit from this transformative event. We are thrilled at the communal response  – our judges and mentors are people our children would not normally be able to have access to, and to have the chance to work closely developing real products, and experience pitching to serious investors like Google and Skype at this point in their lives will be an unforgettable, transformative experience.”

She added: “We have double the number of boys signed up than girls – again symptomatic of national  statistics – and a statistic we need to change – particularly as three of the CEOs behind the Jewish Interactive Hackathon event are women.

“So we have released 10 sponsored places for girls
to encourage more female participation and more women entrepreneurship.”

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