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Nov 13, 2017

Collegians Go to Battle in Business Hackathon

For the remainder of the month, teams from across the country are competing on developing an innovative digital solution to make communication between utility companies and customers user friendly. It is called the Business Hackathon Competition, organized by the Small Business Development Centre Belize, a unit of BELTRAIDE. In the first leg of the competition, five teams made presentations and by the end of the day, two had been eliminated. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The third annual Business Hackathon Competition began today at the BTEC Office on the ITVET Compound in Belize City. Five teams from four tertiary schools from Corozal, Belize and Cayo took on the challenge of using Information and Communication Technology to assist utility companies to interface with their customers. Today, the teams presented their first pitch to the panel of judges, which included reps from Belize Electricity Limited, Belize Telemedia Limited, Smart and Belize Water Services as well as Belize Training and Employment Center.


Hero Balani

Hero Balani, Manager, Investment Generation, Belize Invest

“We seek to stimulate innovative thought in our students by having a tertiary level institutions compete in coming up with a solution to a business problem that we face everything. This year’s theme is a part of Global Entrepreneurship Month and it’s a part of leading up to the National Entrepreneurship Convention on November thirtieth, but the theme we selected this year is for the students to compete and to ‘hack’ or come up with a solution to utility companies’ issues. They are being judged on different criteria including design, originality, looking at their presentation as well as coming up with a demo; they need to come up with how will they solve this problem using technology in Belize and again the feasibility of it.”


The teams were tasked to produce a product that provides two-way communication between utilities and customers to: allow customers to apply for new services and voluntarily provide updated contact information thereby allowing the utility to provide automatic delivery of monthly bills, notifications and confirmation of payments. This year’s defending champion is Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College. Team Unravel believes they can retain the title.


Wilhem Tzul

Wilhem Tzul, Team Unravel, Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College

“We have been working tirelessly with the fourth member of our group and we have been coming up with all these solutions to solve the problem that’s basically communication between utility company and customer.  There’s also a web platform that is in development right now which will still be a part of our solution to solve; however that website will be for the utility companies then. What basically happens in that application is those basic transactions for any utility company.”


Meanwhile Team Origin from Corozal Junior College is hoping that its solution trumps Teams Unravel, from Galen University as well as Intelligence 101 and Tech-Trix from the University of Belize.


Tsungwei Wu

Tsungwei Wu, Team Origin, Corozal Junior College

“We sat down together as a group and we thought about all the problems and wrote them on a dashboard and we deleted, took those challenges step by step until we got to the final solutions.”


Duane Moody

“Now you guys are going against last year’s winners that are also from Corozal—I guess you are rivals. What is CJC going to bring that will knock Centro Escolar Mexico from out of the game as well as the other competing teams?”


Tsungwei Wu

“Well what we have brought is something very unique that no other team has had and you’ll be able to see that after the competition.”


According to Investment Generation Manager at Belize Invest, Hero Balani, the winning concept or application may be adopted by the utility company.


Hero Balani

“The first year we did this, we partnered with the B.T.B. to come up with one that was looking at transportation. Now it was interesting that some of the ideas were used by some of the transport companies, like Tropic Air. Tropic Air now has a mobile application or using IT to better access their customers. Our hope is again that this year, B.E.L. being our platinum sponsor will take the winning team on the next level to then implement their project as a part of their solution.”


The top three teams return for a second presentation on November twenty-fourth and the winners will be announced at the annual Entrepreneurial Symposium scheduled for November thirtieth. Duane Moody for News Five.


The three teams moving on in the competition are: Galen University, Corozal Junior College and Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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