The Department of Intelligent Computer Systems within the Faculty of Information & Communication Technology (ICT), at the University of Malta, in collaboration with the Maltese Local Councils’ Association, and supported by the HOMER Med Program project, has embarked on an initiative to promote the area of Open Data.
The Hack4Malta event revolved around the idea of an Open Data hackathon and was held on Saturday 29th of March. The scope behind this event was to increase awareness about the area of Open Data and more importantly to bring together IT students and developers, but also other individuals from other professions, and motivate them to use Open Data to drive their innovative ideas and encourage them to create a start-up. A mini-open data portal was set up at www.opendatamalta.com whereby a small number of new datasets were made available for use. We’ve also set up a Facebook page related to the events.
This idea behind Hack4Malta was motivated by the huge economic potential behind the themes of innovation, Open Data and the app economy. Hack4Malta managed to integrate effectively these three important components together to provide added value.
Our Hack4Malta kicked off at 8:00am and five teams participated. Each team worked on their ideas during the day and were supported by a number of mentors, from the IT and entrepreneurship professions, to refine and polish these ideas. In the afternoon, each team had to present their idea to a panel of esteemed judges who awarded the winning ideas based on a set of criteria that included: the innovative element behind the idea, the effective use of Open Data, the usefulness behind the idea, the communication skills of the participants and of course the produced prototype or mock-up.
The first prize was won by the team TravelMate, composed from Nigel Grech, Emmanuel Buttigieg and Matthias Pace from the University of Malta. The prize included a fully-paid trip to Turin to participate in HOMER’s annual general meeting together with a €530 voucher from Recruitcoders and tickets for each team member to participate in the 2nd edition of Malta’s Startup Weekend. The winning team will have the opportunity to present their application in front of all of HOMER’s partners and to compete with other winners of HOMER’S Hack4Med Open Data hackathon which will be held later on in May.
The 2nd runner-up was Tripster, composed of Shaun Caruana, Stephen Compagno, Enrico Aquilina and Derrick Agius, from the Institute of ICT, MCAST. Their prize included a Nokia 625 mobile phone, donated by Microsoft Malta while the 3rd runner-up was the team CODe, composed of Jurgen Cassar, Daniel Desira and Christian Bonanno from the Faculty of ICT, and won a €300 voucher donated by the Institute of Computer Education.
All participants were given a certificate of participation.
Through initiatives like Hack4Malta, we want to be able to promote Malta as a natural hub for startups whose model is driven by Open Data.