Sheraa hackathon spurs creativity in sustainability ahead of COP28 - GulfToday

Sheraa hackathon spurs creativity in sustainability ahead of COP28

The participants and award winners   at the event in Sharjah.

The participants and award winners at the event in Sharjah.

Staff Reporter, Gulf Today

More than 300 ideas to sustainably tackle food waste were presented by 150 youth this weekend at the ‘Sustainability Hackathon’, organised by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa),in partnership with the Information & Communication Technology Fund (ICT Fund) and powered by BEEAH Education, the environmental education, awareness and awarding organisation of BEEAH Group.

The event was held in line with the UAE celebrating 2023 as the Year of Sustainability ahead of the nation hosting the prestigious COP 28 later this year.

The event focused on exploring solutions centered around sustainability in food waste, as chosen by the hackathon’s challenge partner BEEAH Education, driving young entrepreneurs to develop creative and innovative solutions. The overarching goal was to foster a sense of responsibility and empower young minds to actively contribute to a more sustainable world.

Winning teams unveiled: Taqsim, Daima, Eco-Karam, and ZeroIT take the lead.

Four teams were selected from the 10 finalist groups that competed in advanced segments of the hackathon meeting experts and receiving mentorship, developing prototypes,and pitching their project to industry leaders.

Wowing the jury going beyond being just an app and serving as a lifeline for the planet, Taqsim, an innovative waste management application that aims to revolutionise how we handle waste and protect the environment, won the top position at the weekend sustainability hackathon. Taqsim project prototype transformed waste management into an engaging and rewarding experience while also providing educational resources. With the Taqsim app, users can track their performance and progress through a dashboard powered by AI technology, allowing them to monitor their waste management efforts.

Daima, which grabbed the second position, is a revolutionising farming project offering farmers a cutting-edge, automated, and sustainable system: the two-layer greenhouse. This innovative solution stands out from traditional farming methods by incorporating advanced technologies and methods. The customised farming systems by Daima optimise space utilisation, reduce energy consumption, repurpose excess water, and maximise crop yields.

The third position was bagged by Eco-Karam, an e-catering platform that focused on reducing food waste in mass gatherings. Through AI machine learning and algorithms based on actual consumption data, the platform utilises a “Food Waste Calculator” to estimate and analyse the amount of food waste generated during events.

ZeroIT, in the fourth position, is a platform that addresses food waste by assisting small and medium-sized grocery stores in selling expiring items to customers at discounted prices. By providing a solution for these grocers who would otherwise discard the food, ZeroIT aims to significantly reduce food waste and divert it from landfills.

Inculcating design thinking at a deeper level among Emirati youth, the intensive weekend bootcamp was designed to enable participants to practice and implement the design thinking process, emphasising experimentation and validation, to gain a deep understanding of complex challenges.

Sheraa has pledged to reinforce the winners of the hackathon with further support, including access to mentorship, validation bootcamps, summer incubation programmes, and community-building initiatives, aimed at helping them bring their solutions to life and launch successful ventures.

Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa: At Sheraa, we recognise that the youth hold the key to unlocking innovative solutions and driving meaningful change

Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, said: “Sustainability is deep-rooted in the heart of our nation, especially this year where we are preparing ourselves to host COP28 and lead the world in tackling global challenges. This weekend was a testament to the fresh perspectives that are brought forth by the talented youth of today, cementing this generation as a cornerstone in the conversation on sustainability.”

Omar Al Mahmoud, CEO of ICT Fund: We affirm our continued support for all national efforts in enabling the innovative and creative young generation

Omar Al Mahmoud, CEO ICTFund said: “We are pleased that ICT Fund and TDRA are at the forefront of supporting all innovation-based projects, especially in the field of sustainability, which our wise leadership attaches exceptional importance to, as 2023 is the year of sustainability. The Sustainability Hackathon, which was held by Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), in partnership with Beeah, is part of national comprehensive efforts aimed at creating a future in line with the rapid tech developments.”

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