After six months of ideation, creation, debating, mentoring, tweaking, innovating, refining, and finally pitching, the curtain came down on the pioneering inaugural edition of the HACKcellence Fest with an Awards Ceremony at IN5, Dubai Production City. The HACKcellence Fest was embarked on as a committed, purpose-filled initiative to establish a Davos for the student universe in M East, Indian Sub Continent & all of Africa, a virtual meeting of young, bright minds coming together to discover tangible solutions to solve real-life problems.
Pioneered by Toshiba and Kioxia, conceptualised and engineered by ISD Global, and enhanced by Middlesex University Dubai, the HACKcellence Fest witnessed student-powered energy and ideation at its very best. Mighty thanks and immense gratitude to all the judges, mentors, the hundreds of participants from around the M East, Africa, and India who remained the backbone and the inspiration for this very unique initiative.
“The incredible potential that lies kinetic within the student community around the region is beyond doubt. In the context of age,10 is indeed the new 20, and 20 is the new 40. That has been established beyond doubt. To facilitate and harness such vast potential within the student community, Toshiba and Kioxia (previously Toshiba Memory) championed a first of its kind HACKcellence Fest conceptualised by leading branding agency ISD Global, where students were encouraged and mentored to find hacks and solutions that will solve real-life problems that humanity is grappling with. Hackathons are happening all over and all the time. Our endeavour (and the notable distinction) with the HACKcellence Fest was to ensure that game-changing hacks and ideas find appropriate competent suitors, get the encouragement and the mentoring/guidance, the financial and management wherewithal to bring their solutions to the real world. In that respect, the HACKcellence Fest is an end-to-end platform that begins with the generation of a stack of hacks or ideas and finds them getting their due place and recognition in the market/s that need them,” said Santosh Varghese, Vice President, Toshiba Gulf FZE.
With over 700 entries that eventually go distilled down to the Top 15, the HACKcellence Fest lived up to its promise of unearthing talent, passion & innovation amongst the student community in the M East, Africa, and India. The hacks ranged across areas of Digital Health, Transportation & Mobility, The Non-Money Economy, Inclusivity & Diversity, Drone Technology, E-Waste, Digital Humanism, Sustainability & Climate Crisis, Smart Education, Food Waste, Cloud Storage and Data Protection, Mental Health, and so on.
The hacks and ideas that were presented were truly eye-opening and the need of the hour. The future really is in the good hands of the upcoming digital natives and millennials. “What made this initiative unique was the fact that students were not limited by the guidelines we have put in place, but encouraged to break them and think beyond. We believe that challenges come with opportunities, and the HACKcellence Fest is a fantastic opportunity for students to make an impact and find solutions to the major issues affecting the global community. We provided participants with an open platform to submit ideas inspired by any topic that interests them. We were looking for their wildest, brightest hacks. As a leading UK university in Dubai at the cutting edge of future-forward education, we at Middlesex University Dubai are best placed to unlock the skills, ideas, and innate ability that the region’s student community can offer the world. As proud partners with Toshiba and Kioxia and ISD Global, we look forward to making the HACKcellence Fest an annual event in our calendar and provide students with this platform to make their ideas a reality,” said Dr. Cedwyn Fernandes, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University and Director of Middlesex University Dubai.
“At ISD Global we always walk the walk on the power of cooperative marketing and the collaborative advantage energy that it releases for all stakeholders involved. As brand and community builders and new business and market enablers working with top-of-the-line brands across 4 continents over the past almost two decades, the ethos we practice at ISD Global is that of being counterintuitive and disintermediating. Delivering the unexpected. Being purposefully provocative. Questioning legacy practises and the status quo. Our idea with the HACKcellence Fest was to unleash a committed, purpose-filled visionary foray into the ecosphere and to establish a robust and enabling, facilitating platform for the student community in the region for innovation, entrepreneurship, and disruption,” added Suresh Dinakaran, Chief Storyteller, ISD Global Dubai.
The HACKcellence Fest had its grand finale in the form of an Awards Ceremony in Dubai. Students won a range of exciting awards, including cash prizes, University Scholarships, Trophies & Certificates, Entrepreneurship Training, Start-Up Mentoring, Start-Up Incubation Facilitation, and much more.