Inside of Apply: Hacking for Good and Building Better Supports for Immigrant Women
On November 7th, Apply teams in Vancouver and Toronto joined forces for our 2nd annual hackathon—a Hackathon for Good. This one-day event focused on finding tech solutions that have a tangible and far-reaching impact on social causes and issues identified by our team members. These focus areas spanned a range of subjects from environmental protection, education and mental health to supporting vulnerable populations like the elderly, the homeless, and immigrants.
At Apply, we always consider the way our products and projects benefit the wider community. Hackathon for Good took this one step further and gave our team the opportunity to focus solely on the issues and causes they care about. It allowed us to dig deep and get creative in order to find executable digital solutions that would have a lasting impact. The end goal of the Hackathon was to develop the winning project into a full-fledged digital product that would be gifted to a local non-profit organization.
Each team was created in a multi-disciplinary fashion true to Apply’s approach to digital product development, but with two distinct differences. Firstly, the teams brought together colleagues who don’t typically get the chance to work together. Secondly, the teams only had eight hours to dissect and solve the problem, build a business plan that connected the solution to a digital product, define and brand the product, and then build a go-to-market plan. These unusual circumstances combined to push team members to take on unfamiliar roles as the process became a high-energy collaborative push to the finish line.
Top: Presentations; Left: Team The Immie’s whiteboard listing immigration problems; Middle: Team Rippple brainstorming; Right: Team scholar.ly brainstorming
At the end of the day, each of our 11 teams created ideas worthy of consideration by a jury led by Apply’s Chief Strategist, Scott Michael. However, there can only ever be one winner and this year The Immies proudly claimed that title.
This Vancouver-based team “Immies” made up of Jordan Christiansen, Susannah Poon, Michael Chen, Lara Hughes, and Tyler Nee took on the subject of supporting immigrant mothers. Immigrant mothers face the barriers of biased employers, not having their foreign professional experience recognized in Canada, and also being the primary caregiver for small children even while working.
Presentation and Judging
The Immies started their exploration of the subject by identifying a non-profit organization already working to support local immigrant women.
After speaking with this non-profit, The Immies learned about its social enterprise initiative, which opens up employment opportunities for this demographic of newcomers to Canada.
During this conversation, the Immies identified an opportunity to help this initiative grow and scale. The team created a strategic product development and marketing plan designed to improve website traffic, reduce overhead costs, develop community partnerships, and streamline a standardized online booking application.
The Immies’ idea stood out to the Hackathon judges for several reasons. By talking to a local non-profit, the team gained the insights needed to create a product that would efficiently and accurately solve real-world challenges. And not only did they have a strong product road map, but they also had robust launch and marketing plans in place to help the non-profit organization implement this digital tool.