Microsoft co-hosts Eco Hack PR sustainability hackathons program
Microsoft announced it will co-organize with Reimagine Education an initiative called Eco Hack PR, a program made up of sustainability hackathons, June 3-24.
Participants will develop technological solutions and business models focused on addressing important issues related to the island’s environment, including smart farming & agriculture, water conservation, solid waste management, and coral/buoy protection.
This first edition of Eco Hack PR is part of “Transformemos Puerto Rico,” a Microsoft project that aims to accelerate the digitization of the island through initiatives focused on education and training in digital skills, access to connectivity, and sustainability.
“Climate change is a real and serious phenomenon, and it deserves urgent attention. We understand that technology in the hands of talented and visionary people can be a solution,” said Herbert Lewy, general manager of Microsoft Puerto Rico.
“To accomplish this, these hackathons seek to generate high-value business ideas and product concepts. It also seeks to promote a culture of innovation and further foment the exchange of ideas, effective collaboration, and creativity driven by enthusiasm towards a common goal,” he said.
To reach as many participants as possible, four events will be held in strategic locations throughout the island, with the support of Microsoft and Reimagine Education allies.
As a first activity, an orientation session and a design thinking workshop will be held June 3 in hybrid mode with the possibility of attending in person at Engine 4 headquarters in Bayamón. Then, sustainability hackathons will take place in three regions across the island, beginning June 4-5 in the northern region, also at Engine 4.
The second session of hackathons will take place June 10-12 in the southern part of the island, in collaboration with the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico in Ponce. The third hackathon will take place June 25-26 in the central/east area, at the La Zabra farm in Gurabo.
Registration is open for high school and university students, individuals, startups, companies and any individual or enterprise that has a technological idea of value for the environment. Each team will focus on outlining their proposal, designing, and delivering an initial prototype, and attractively describing their solution. In addition, they will build a prototype, create a slide deck, and rehearse a business pitch.
“These events, from a macro perspective, foster creative real-world problem solving, give the community the opportunity to learn something new, and empower citizens to be part of the solution,” said Keren Henríquez, president of Reimagine Education.
“This type of initiative also motivates the exploration of new technologies, the development of new ventures, and the implementation of viable solutions,” she said.
Particular attention will be paid to solution-focused projects involving artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).