The search is on for the best and brightest minds in Hawke's Bay to take part in Hack Hawke's Bay (The HAKA-thon), a hackathon event to solve complex challenges hosted by local businesses.
The hackathon is sponsored by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) via Ōrawa Ltd, a local Māori company committed to well-being economics. This local initiative, the first of its kind, will see Ōrawa committed to bringing the community together to help grow prosperity, wealth and drive local job creation.
Ōrawa will work alongside Hack Hawke's Bay partners T3W (National Māori Tech and Investment) and Datacom.
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Barry Soutar, co-organiser of Hack Hawke's Bay, is inviting business leaders, technologists, developers, creatives, designers, entrepreneurs, investors and clever problem solvers from across the region to register their interest.
"Our commercially focused hackathon is all about people working together to solve specific business challenges," says Soutar.
"It will demonstrate how harnessing the power of technology can drive innovation and productivity and grow scalable businesses from regional New Zealand and take them to the world."
Working with Datacom, New Zealand's largest home-grown information and communication technologies (ICT) provider, Hack Hawke's Bay gives teams a weekend to come up with innovative solutions to the issues of the day.
Datacom's associate director of innovation, Kerry Topp, says the challenge represents the sort of real-world problems companies like Datacom face every day.
"Customers come to us seeking solutions to issues ranging from the obvious things like payroll or how to better engage with rate payers, right through to really unusual and challenging situations around the environment, entrepreneurism, around attracting talent to the regions and about providing a future path for Māori youth."
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Six organisations - Business Hawke's Bay, Kanapū Hemp, Tūranga Health, Ngāti Pahauwera/Curve Technology, Anglican Healthcare Waiapu and the Napier City Council - will each present a challenge to be solved, says Soutar.
"The teams are tasked with coming up with a solution that is scalable, and has the potential to earn export dollars for Hawke's Bay.
"We're helping Māori businesses grow, and in the case of Napier City Council, one of our region's largest and wide-reaching organisations, to develop a new tool."
Carolyn Neville, chief executive of Business Hawke's Bay, says being able to attract, retain, and develop talent is a major challenge for regional New Zealand, including Hawke's Bay.
"Having enough people with the right skills to keep our growing economy firing on all cylinders is the problem that we must solve. That's why Business Hawke's Bay is presenting this challenge.
"Our economy is growing, but we won't be able to maximise our economic potential and benefit our community without a regional talent management system that includes attracting talent and retaining it, alongside developing Hawke's Bay's local talent.
"Solving this challenge will be of huge benefit to our business community, and we're really looking forward to being part of the hackathon weekend and seeing just what comes out of this creative, innovative, collaborative process."
The event will be held at the Napier Conference Centre from 3.30pm on Friday February 28 to 4pm on Sunday March 1. If you are interested in registering just go to the hackathon website .