Member Article

North East hackathon generates innovative ideas

Cutting-edge business ideas were developed in the region’s first 24 hour Hackathon held at DigitalCity Business (DCB), the business driver for creative and digital businesses in Middlesbrough.

The event - where coders, programmers and others involved in digital development came together and brainstormed new projects - was sponsored by TwentyThreeMiles, a start-up investor, and Searchcamp a digital entrepreneur’s programme in the region.

It was such a resounding success it has prompted the organisers to make it a regular event.

Elliott Perry, 23, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, and Mark Stephenson, 32 of Middlestone Moor, County Durham, won the Hackathon’s commercial prize which includes membership to DigitalCity Business, a start-up bundle and office space.

James Rutherford of Creative Nucleus won the charity prize for a website he created during the Hackathon.

Elliott said: “It was great fun taking part in the Hackathon – and even better to have won!

“Our idea was a tool that helps identify and reach your target market on Twitter.

“At the moment if you want to perform direct marketing on Twitter it is a time consuming task. Our tool automates the process of checking relevant tweets, looking at location and the positivity or negativity of the tweet. It then writes individual responses to each tweet.

“Our tool also allows you to specify search terms and a geographic location. This way you can advertise to those tweeting positively and respond to those that have been negative.

“Explaining it now I can’t believe we managed to build it within 24 hours!”

Several teams were given 24 hours to develop new digital concepts – with exhausted entrepreneurs receiving support and mentoring throughout the night to keep their spirits up, and their minds on top form with teams developing either commercial ideas or a charity concept.

Dan Watson, Head of Cluster Development at DigitalCity Business said: “We’re really happy with the success of our first Hackathon.

“Elliott’s embedded tweet idea ‘A tweet to who?’ really stood out as a brilliant commercial innovation.

“There was also a prize of the best idea on behalf of a charitable cause, which was won by James Rutherford for his easily-integrated charity payment system. Instead of losing out to systems such as PayPal, with James’ system charities could collect 97% of the donation.”

The Hackathon began with several workshops on the Friday evening, with expert speakers; including DCB’s Paul Callaghan and Paul Weavers of TwentyThreeMiles.

Dan explained: “We had around 35 to 40 people who came to listen to the speakers on the first day and we ended up with seven great teams who went through the whole process and produced lots of creative ideas.”

The commercial runner up, Matt Glover, was also given membership to DCB and a start-up bundle.

DigitalCity Business CEO Mark Elliott said: “The ideas that were generated were innovative and, crucially, were relatively simple to implement.

“The winners stood out from the crowd with their carefully thought-out plans and well-delivered pitches but there were some great ideas to choose from.

“I’m excited to see these ideas develop into full-blown ventures, and it’s fantastic that at DCB we’re in a position to offer the help and guidance needed to bring them to fruition.”

The organisers are now hoping the hackathon will prove to be the first of many, with the next event pencilled in for October.

For more information about what’s going on at DCB visit:

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by DigitalCity Business .

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