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Hajj Hackathon: Saudi Arabia to host the largest hackathon in the Middle East

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Over two million people from across the world journey to Saudi Arabia each year to perform the muslim pilgrimage known as Hajj. That's a very large number of people to manage and in order to streamline the process of Hajj and improve the overall experience of pilgrims, the Kingdom is hosting a hackathon this year.

The 36-hour hackathon is expected to be the largest event of its kind in the Middle East and attract 3000 developers. It’s open to all tech entrepreneurs, innovators, developers and designers from all over the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

The Hajj Hackathon will take place at the International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Jeddah from August 1st to 3rd, 2018.

What’s a Hackathon?

Hackathons are ways to pool human resources with the purpose of tackling difficult challenges and coming up with solutions by producing usable software. By having multiple teams with diverse backgrounds competing, the organisers get access to a range of high quality potential solutions.

The participants compete against each other to come up with the most effective solution utilizing technology, creativity, and innovation. Hackathons usually offer prizes to the top innovations including incubation or accelerator opportunities, hiring.

Hajj Hackathon - 36 hours, 3,000 entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs taking part in the 36 hour Hajj Hackathon will have to find and build solutions that help streamline the process of Hajj and improve the overall experience of pilgrims. The areas of focus are:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Transportation
  • Crowd control & traffic management
  • Travel & accommodations arrangement
  • Public health
  • Waste management
  • Housing
  • Communications solutions
  • Financial solutions

Hajj Hackathon is open to all tech entrepreneurs, innovators, developers and designers from the  Middle East and North Africa. Participants will be judged based on creativity, design, simplicity, and impact. 

Over 2 Million SAR worth of prizes

The challenge will be well worth for entrepreneurs with the total prize money of over two million Saudi Arabian Riyals (SAR) which is the equivalent of over half a million US dollars. 

The first place winner of the Hajj Hackathon will get to walk away with a grand prize of 1,000,000 SAR for 15% equity investment. Runner-up gets 500,000 SAR for 10% equity investment, and the 2nd runner-up will get 350,000 SAR for 7% equity investment. Needless to say that if you’re in any of these positions, your business is off to a flying start.

Besides the top three prizes for equity and investments, there are other prizes to be won as well such as Google Home Mini devices and Google Cloud credits.

How will be winners be picked?

Submissions will be judged on the following four areas, each of which holds upto five points:

Design - Was the UX/UI intuitive and appealing?

Simplicity - Is the application simple to use and can the team explain it clearly in three sentences or less?

Creativity - How creative was the team in developing an innovative solution for the challenge?

Impact - Did the team create an application that can have a real and valuable impact?

This will allow each judge to give a total score between 0 and 20 points based on the above criteria. The final score of each participant will be the average of all the judges’ scores.

Where can you register

You can click this link (opens in new tab) to register for the Hajj Hackathon or visit the official website (opens in new tab) of the Hajj Hackathon to learn more.

Abbas Jaffar Ali
Abbas Jaffar Ali

Abbas has been living and breathing tech before phones became smart or clouds started storing data. It all started when he got his very first computer- the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. From computers to mobile phones and watches, Abbas is always interested in tech that is smarter and smaller because he believes that tech shouldn’t be something that gets added to your life- it should be a part of your life.