On the 17th of May 2023, the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce hosted the Judging and Closing Ceremony of the Innov8 Hackathon, Bahrain’s biggest hackathon on cloud-based innovation. The Innov8 Hackathon, hosted by Amazon Web Services, supported by The Labour Fund (Tamkeen), and managed by Etijah Coaching and Consulting, aimed to provide a platform for young individuals to ideate cloud-based solutions to SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Development in Bahrain.
212 applicants in 64 teams submitted their initial ideas and were invited to a 3-day learning week hosted from 7th to 9th May. During the Learning Week, participating teams got to benefit from virtual speaker sessions and panel discussions on topics such as cloud computing, NFTs, ChatGPT, and business planning. These sessions were delivered by experts from Amazon Web Services, the University of Bahrain, and Bahrain Polytechnic. In delivering the entrepreneurial skills sessions of the Learning Week, the Innov8 Hackathon was supported by experts from the National Bank of Bahrain and Bahrain Islamic Bank. The teams were also given one-on-one mentorship sessions to help them enhance their idea and the functionality of their prototypes.
After the final submission on May 13th, 30 teams were invited to pitch their ideas during the Judging Ceremony on May 17th. The young participants showcased their completed prototypes to judging panels featuring experts from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Zain Bahrain, National Bank of Bahrain, Amazon Web Services, Bahrain Economic Development Board, Bahrain Islamic Bank, Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tamkeen, University Of Bahrain, and Bahrain Polytechnic. Each of the teams was evaluated on their level of innovation, the functionality of their prototype as well as the impressive nature of the idea.
After a few inspiring words from Tamkeen, Amazon Web Services, and Etijah, the winners were announced. Three winners were awarded from each of the tracks – high schools; universities, recent graduates and young professionals; and startups. The first-place winners from each track were awarded $5000, the second-place winners from each track were awarded $3,000, and the third-place winners from each track were awarded $2,000. The cash prizes for the event were sponsored by the National Bank of Bahrain, Zain, Tamkeen, and Bahrain Islamic Bank.
During her opening keynote, Marwa Aleskafi, Director of Entrepreneurship, Technology and Strategic Initiatives at Tamkeen remarked, “In today’s world, technology proliferates almost every aspect of our lives. Technology is a key enabler for all sectors, we see it transforming healthcare, finance, education, and tourism, and creating new sectors driven by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and IoT. Technology is enabling us to effectively solve key challenges in food security, incurable diseases, and quality education. For this reason, platforms such as the Innov8 Hackathon are highly important. They pave the way for ideation and innovation and discover ways to make the most out of the latest technologies available to us.
Dina Shabib, Managing Director of Etijah Coaching, marked the occasion by saying, “As the world around us continuously evolves, technology has become the center of our lives, our businesses, and even our economy. Innov8 Hackathon was initiated to provide young prospering minds with the opportunity and platform to innovate and create ideas that can contribute to Bahrain’s economy in the near future.”
The winners from each category were as follows:
High School Track
- First Place Winner – Bahrain Bayan School Team
- Second Place Winner – Hel-mate
- Third Place Winner – Bee2tna
Universities, Graduates, and Young Professionals Track
- First Place Winner – Osceify
- Second Place Winner – ChangePioneers and Bahrain Beyond (tied for 2nd place)
- First Place Winner – Samiminteriors
- Second Place Winner – Abshir
- Third Place Winner – Fanzat