Wrexham ‘ Kindness’ hackathon used innovation to solve local issues
The Wrexham Enterprise Hub teamed up with the Wales Co-operative Centre to hold a hackathon event with the goal of using social enterprise to create sustainable solutions to local issues.
The ‘Hack of Kindness’, a free event was held at the Hub on Rhosddu Road on Thursday the 5th of March.
Starting at eight in the morning, teams were given the brief before separating across the Hub’s coworking space to research and develop their ideas, leading to them pitching to a panel of judges that evening. They were be supported with inspirational talks, guidance and workshops along with breakfast, lunch and dinner!
The Hackathon in Wrexham was focussed on a range of local issues, from social isolation and health to the environment and homelessness. Participants were given twelve hours to research and identify a social problem or issue and then create a project, product or service that could solve it. The winning team received a prize, as well as support to potentially bring their idea to life and found a new social enterprise.
Community Manager at the Hub, Carl Turner said: “A large part of what we do at the Enterprise Hub is to help people start businesses so that they can take charge of their own lives, and play a part in the wider economy. To do that, we help individuals identify a problem they can solve or a service they can offer, and help them develop a business to meet those needs.
“Events such as a Hackathon are designed to do that but in a concentrated period of time. With the right focus and environment, talented minds can come up with an idea or innovation that can go on to make a lasting difference. We’re keen to see what solutions this creative way of working can develop, and are excited to see it focused on solving local issues.”
Typically, a hackathon is an event where software developers, graphic designers and project managers collaborate over a period of time to create a functioning piece of hardware or software that solves a problem. The concept has been adopted across sectors and today represents a collection of minds working collaboratively to create a solution or proposal to a set problem.
Social Entrepreneur Officer for the Wales Co-Operative Centre, Martin Downes, said: “We are thrilled with the response for the Hackathon in Wrexham, with over 60 people already signed up to attend. We are bringing together some great people and great organisations from the area to use entrepreneurship, innovation and market approaches to create social value and change. The Hackathon is the perfect environment to facilitate this solution-orientated approach to resolving problems and we can’t wait to see the results.”
The event was hosted by the Wrexham Enterprise Hub and run in collaboration with Social Business Wales, Glyndwr University, Coleg Cambria, Big Ideas Wales, UnLtd, and Wrexham Council, as well as local trainers and experts.
The Wrexham Enterprise Hub is one of five hubs across Wales funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and will see over £4m invested to provide supportive spaces and mentoring for new and growing businesses.
The Wales Co-operative Centre is Wales’ national body for co-operatives, mutuals, social enterprises and employee-owned businesses. Since 1982, the Centre has applied its co-operative values to strengthen and empower communities by supporting the growth of co-operatives and social enterprises. On January 1stthe Wales Co-operative Centre launched a brand-new programme to encourage aspiring entrepreneurs in Wales to set-up new social businesses. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the project aims to create 250 brand new social businesses in Wales over the next three years, providing quality jobs and essential services anchored in communities.
Since launching in May 2018 the Enterprise Hub has held more than 65 events and supported more than 300 individuals and businesses. As well as enabling businesses to start, the team in Wrexham have played a key role in helping its members grow, and to date enterprises at the hub have raised more than £800k in investment and created jobs.