The Helping Hands Hackathon is an opportunity for small to medium Charlotte area non-profits to be connected with volunteer software engineers and designers who can use their professional skills and talents to create software that can that can make a difference.
We are looking for non-profits who believe they could deliver their services more efficiently and effectively by adding just a dash of technology.
What is a Hackathon?
A hackathon is an in-person event, normally 1-2 days in length, where computer programmers and designers gather to collaborate and build software for fun. The Helping Hands Hackathon is a themed hackathon whose focus is on improving the ability of small Charlotte area nonprofits to help those in need.
What do we need from you?
Think about your daily activities in running your nonprofit. What are the administrative tasks that if automated by software would free you up to focus on the people your helping? What information do you have that could be made actionable if only it could be extracted and visualized in a more meaningful way? What software systems do you currently use that would be even more useful if it could be connected to another system? These are the kinds of problems we are looking to help you solve.
When is the event happening?
Right now our focus is on finding a great set of non-profit partners, so we have not set a specific event date, though we are hoping to hold the event sometime in July.
What happens to my project after the event?
You will own whatever assets are created by your team during the hackathon, so your nonprofit will be responsible for maintaining it going forward. However, our hope is that you will develop some meaningful relationships with the developers you work with and can find ways to continue to work with them in the future.
Do you have an idea or need that we might be able to adddress?
Post a comment below and tell us about your non-profit and what kinds of challenges it faces or message us on Facebook.
From Punk to Prez
One might ask however if you are unemployed and you can’t find a job, how can you create one?
“Our special approach is to serve people who are normally not seen as good candidates for entrepreneurs,” says Thorsten Jahnke, CEO of iqconsult, a social enterprise that helps unemployed people set up businesses in the German federal state of Brandenburg.
“Our approach is low threshold, lay language and being where young people are. We don’t wait in an office, we go to people’s living rooms, wherever they want to open a business.”
Jahnke gave an example of a punk woman who lived on the street, and who, thanks to iq consult help, started her own company. “We saw her one day in front of the iq consult office in Potsdam” tells Jahnke “She wore dozens of colourful metal badges.” Jahnke talked to her and at some point suggested she started a business designing and producing badges. Not long afterwards she became an employer herself and hired four workers.
“We didn’t speak about the business model, we didn’t even speak with her about how to make money. What we did speak about was how to spread her personal ideas.”
Read the whole article in The Huffington Post here…
There five steps to “inspire, catalyze, and sustain” social change are: believe, commit, connect, implement, repeat. For those aspiring to become a social entrepreneur, some sage pieces of advice given to me as I interviewed successful Changemakers around the country were:
“Have the courage of your conviction”
“The mission and the business are integrated and their can be daily conflict to balance both”
“Allow your ideas to evolve”
“Make a product or offer a service that is on par with what is out there, rather than relying on the cause to tug at people’s heart strings”
“Inspire others to join your cause”
“Keep the unique needs of your community in mind” (as Homeboys Industries does so well)
“Building relationships plus involving the community equals success”.
From my personal experience as an entrepreneur I would agree; these are wise leaders.
Another piece of advice I would recommend is to find a social entrepreneur who is willing to mentor you. Most of them are very willing to do so. As I interviewed many around the country, most invited me to connect with them again and feel free to contact them if I had more questions. I’ve found most successful people truly want to share their knowledge and have a mentee that is receptive to learning. Frontier Market Scouts mission is to “…..gain career-defining and life-changing experiences at the rich intersection of ideas, people, and places between purpose and profit”. Those words make me want to embrace and immerse myself into the world of social enterprise. Every young person that seeks my advice on career paths is told to do what you love. I ask what they are passionate about; the money will follow.