JCT's 44-hour Women's Hackathon produces innovative coronavirus solutions

Participants, who worked together virtually, were sent decorated boxes with t-shirts, coffee mugs, water bottles and so on so as to keep them in the hackathon mindset, despite working from afar.

Winning team of JCT Women's Hackathon 2020 (photo credit: JERUSALEM COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY)
Winning team of JCT Women's Hackathon 2020
(photo credit: JERUSALEM COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY)
Over 100 religious and haredi women who attend the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) competed on Friday in the third annual 44-hour hackathon seeking to find innovative solutions for the varying issues which arose due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A virtual platform which was designed to replace face-to-face dates was the winner of the hackathon, run by the college's LevTech Entrepreneurship Center, as it would allow people to interact and for singles to still meet other singles, while also participating in numerous virtual activities such as a cooking competition and online card games.
Other teams came up with innovative solutions to small business closures by proposing a platform for people to purchase those businesses' products and donating them to different organizations in great need amid the pandemic. Others came up with ways to allow for medical and educational service access for at-risk youth, while some managed to come up with ways artists may perform interactively from afar.
"COVID-19 has created major challenges for small businesses, non-profits and artists, teens-at-risk and young people looking to launch relationships," said one of the expert judges Managing Director of MassChallenge Yonit Serkin. "But it has also created incredible opportunities for new technologies and solutions to help those who need them most."
"Given the ongoing emergence of acute needs arising from coronavirus, there was no doubt that this year’s hackathon for women should focus on creative, practical, and immediate solutions which address the pandemic’s challenges," said Orlee Guttman, JCT’s Director of Strategic Partnerships and co-Founder of the college’s LevTech Entrepreneurship Center. "We are hopeful and confident that the hackathon’s participants, as well as various other ambitious young women and men who are studying at JCT, will become respected industry leaders on the front-lines of the pandemic in the months and years to come."
Participants, who worked together virtually, were sent decorated boxes with t-shirts, coffee mugs, water bottles and so on so as to keep them in the hackathon mindset, despite working from afar.
Since the hackathon was held online, participants could not provide a proof of concept, but rather were challenged further with presenting a functional, ready-for-market product.
As in many hackathons, the participants were offered assistance from numerous professional mentors from varying fields of expertise. Among the many goals of the hackathon was to break the glass ceiling for religious women and to empower them to pursue a technical education.
The previous year, the team that won the annual hackathon had managed to develop a wireless oxygen saturation monitor for infants.