Windsor’s First Major Hackathon, WinHacks, Goes Digital in Wake of COVID-19

Friday, March 13, 2020

wetech-alliance.com

 
Reacting to worldwide COVID-19 concerns, organizers of WinHacks, scheduled for Windsor March 27-29, have decided to turn it into a fully digital event.
 
“We basically had three options,” said Noah Campbell, chief executive officer and founder of WinHacks. “We could cancel it, postpone it or convert it to a digital event.”
 
“Given the amount of work our team has done thus far and the number of hackers eagerly looking forward to the event, we think that becoming digital is the best possible option for us and for our attendees.”
 
Campbell said organizers have created a fully interactive platform so that hackers can still have access to chat rooms, question and answer sessions, video  and voice calls.
 
“Interactions will still be face-to-face but through a screen rather than in-person,” explains Campbell.
 
On March 6, Major League Hacking worked with its first all-digital hackathon, Hacktech. It was deemed a huge success and all attendees were able to log on from home over the course of the event and build their projects.
 
“The event targeted around 500 in-person attendees and they ended up with more than 70 projects submitted in their digital format which is around the number they’d expect for an in-person event,” said Campbell.
 
“We’re going to be following Major League Hacking’s guidance in how to run a successful digital hackathon in order to capture the same level of success with our event,” said Campbell.
 
In an email to participants and sponsors, Campbell said that in order to make sponsorship and support successful, we ask all team members to join the event chat platform as mentors, be ready to do live streaming workshops and chat with hackers about their projects and career goals via video, phone calls or text messages in Discord.
 
Pitching ideas to an audience during the opening ceremonies will still be available as will interaction with recruiters throughout the event.
 
Companies looking to recruit tech talent are encouraged to participate and can do so free of charge. 
 
The event’s schedule will remain the same, all workshops will be virtual and all planned challenges will still take place.
 
Those looking to pitch their projects will be able to do so by logging on during the event and use either a slide show and narration or a live video from a remote location.
 
Pre-recorded presentations will also be allowed.
 
Prizes will be awarded virtually, swag and other handouts will be shipped to each participating institution after the event.
 
Among WinHacks major sponsors includes WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation, WEtech Alliance and the University of Windsor. 
 
Updates on WinHacks website at https://winhacks.ca/ will be posted as the date of the event moves closer.
 
“The whole point of the event is to celebrate our students and participants and we believe going fully digital will still allow us to achieve that goal,” said Campbell.
 
Campbell said the event could have gone on as planned with perhaps severely reduced attendance and the risk of someone becoming ill but switching to a digital event will allow participants, sponsors and organizers to have the best of all possible outcomes.
 
“We’re still expecting 300-plus participants and we are grateful for everyone’s continuing support in a difficult situation,” said Campbell.
 
To register for virtual recruiter booth, contact admin@winhacks.ca.
 
If you’re a North America hacker looking to participate, register at https://winhacks.typeform.com/to/FjxLkl