The three-day event, which has the distinction of being the Sultanate’s first environment-themed hackathon, tested the wit and technical prowess of 105 students, who teamed up to create innovative digital solutions to environmental challenges like waste management, renewable energy and alternatives, as well as energy and water efficiency.
The chosen candidates, selected out of a pool of 481 applicants from higher educational institutions across the country, competed for prizes including cash and potential sponsorship opportunities. They had to develop their ideas into viable software or applications. The final projects were evaluated on criteria including originality, feasibility, scalability, economic value, viability of environmental solution and a good marketing plan, according to a press release.
Speaking about the initiative, Ghada Al Yousef, Executive Manager, Group Communication & Sustainability at Nama Group, said, “Nama Group is committed to lowering the environmental impact of the energy industry. Initiatives like the Green Eco-Thon play a significant role in raising awareness and encourage a culture of sustainability among Oman’s young people. We’re thrilled to have so many enthusiastic participants and excellent ideas.”
Dareen Mehdi, ESO board member commented on the objective of the event and said, “The Eco-Thon serves to inspire young people to use their smart ideas and tech know-how to be agents of change within the community. They are proving that technology and innovation are ideal instruments to resolve many of day-to-day environmental challenges.”
Referring to the huge success of the event, Mehdi said that “it proved that Oman’s next generation of innovators is definitely changing the game when it comes to environmental consciousness.”
During the course of the event, the students were part of a series of inspirational talks about the selected themes, interacted with each other and their mentors, who guided them through the development of their concepts. The projects were presented to a distinguished panel of evaluators, and ideas and pitches were presented to stakeholders, investors and interested partners.
The panel of judges included some very distinguished personalities that included Ibrahim Al Harthi, Director of Technical Regulation at the Authority for Electricity Regulation, , Adel Al Hubaishi, Senior Advisor of the Zubair Small Enterprises Center at Zubair Corporation, Dr. Mehdi Jaffar, an Independent Consultant on Sustainable Development, Hussain Al Ajmi, Corporate Risk and Group Business Continuity Manager at Nama Group, and Dr. Farah Al Barwani, Research and Development Manager at the Environmental Center of Excellence (Beah).
The official awards’ ceremony will be held in the coming weeks to announce the winning teams.