Last week I got invited by WHAT (Women Hackers Action Tank) to speak about #Women #Leadership and #Entrepreneurhip during their hackathon event related to Women, Entrepreneurship and Social and Solidarity Economy.

Oooowkey…You said a hacka-what?

What exactly is a hackathon?

I would define it as a tech neologism made up by « hack » (the other word for the computer piracy) and « thon » that relates to « marathon ».

Oooowkey…and then?

And then, a hackathon is generally a 48 hours to help someone in a collaborative thinking transform an idea or a project into something structured. It’s basically like a 48 hours-race, like you are running a marathon. The group has to come up with a clear and structured project in that short period of time. Then the project’s holder has to pitch it in a few minutes (commonly 3 minutes). A jury of experts and partners select the best project(s) and make them benefit professional advices and support.

There are really great advantages to be part of such a positive and inspiring event. That said, having participated to WHAT hackathon brought me to identify 5 main reasons to participate to that kind of event, especially if you carry a specific project:

1. It’s a good way to challenge your project/idea

Most of the time, the only moment you will confront your project to the public is the moment you need to do your market study, to determine whether there is a market or not. That can be frustrating because you spend months writing down a business model that you think is already achieved, but once you meet your potential customers, you realize there are a lot more things to do. In a hackathon, you benefit that direct and instantaneous feedback on your project, the group helps you responding to the market need in a more accurate way. This is really something you do not have to neglect.

2. You get helped by a group of constructive people

The other thing that is nice about collective thinking is that people are not there only to point out the problems or unanswered questions in your business model, they are really there to give potential and concrete solutions to the problems. Some might have a lot of experience in doing hackathon and some others might have expertise in their field. In that way it could be interesting to get nourrished by the sensitivity of each other.

3. You get several up-to-date usefull tools

Business model canvas, decision-making tree, value proposition canvas are few examples of tools you will be given and explained. You certainly have heard about them but are not sure on how to properly use them. A hackathon is also a place for that.

4. It’s a place and moment for networking!

Either you already are an entrepreneur or you just have a neboulous idea of what you would like to create, it’s a nice place to get in touch with future prospects, partners or even helpers. Who knows, you could meet the early adopters of your product or solution there.

5. Last reason but not least…the rewards, of course

The good thing with hackathon is also that it is a competition between all the groups. And who says competition says…rewards! As someone mentionned it at the end of the event, the jury of WHAT hackathon was really…really generous! The members of jury doubled, tripled, multiplied the at stake rewards. I am wondering why I didn’t present any projet? Let’s go back to seriousness. Rewards are usually usefull and qualitative. At this early stage of a project they are often non financial rewards but rather in terms of expertise you can get from a specific person, an organization, a company. You can be accompanied by a dedicated structure, that can even afterwards help you raising some money to make your project take off.

So, what are you still waiting for to board?

About the Women Hackers Action Tank: hackforwomen.com

Next hackathon:
« Autonomy and employment for young people in digital economy »
5th-6th December 2017
At Orange Bonne Nouvelle
3, rue Mazagran
75010 PARIS

To register: Eventbrite

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