Temperature Rises as the Zero Degree Challenge Comes to an End

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Thand Machao won the first prize of PKR 100,000 after 48 hours of market research and prototyping at the 2-day hackathon focused on solving the Wall’s Zero Degree Challenge: How can we use the power of technology to deliver ice-cream to every doorstep? The winning team members included Zain-ul-abdin, Hamza Ali, and the 13 year old student, Nasir Hussain.

Ice Xpress was the runner-up of the challenge and took home PKR 50,000. Wall’s Zero Degree Challenge was Unilever’s first Hackathon in Pakistan, hosted and organized by The Nest I/O. The event kicked off on March 9 at The Nest I/O with a welcome note by Jehan Ara, President P@SHA and The Nest I/O. “Large companies want to innovate, they want to do things differently. It’s great that these companies recognize that they don’t have all the answers and want the help of young creative minds to come up with those answers. Ideas of customers matter and we are happy to facilitate Unilever in bringing together so many talented individuals with varying skill sets, all under one roof, to find an answer to the Zero Degree Challenge”, commented Jehan Ara.

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The hackathon was a great opportunity for thinkers, innovators, and entrepreneurs to find practical solutions to the problem statement and network with like-minded people. A total of 31 ideas were pitched on the first day out of which 17 were shortlisted by the participants and the Unilever team for the next stage. The participants received rigorous mentoring from from Unilever executives and experts as well as industry professionals from The Nest I/O’s network of mentors along with unlimited ice-cream for 48 hours.

The shortlisted ideas included diverse solutions from delivering ice-cream using drones, Careem & Bykea to marketing strategies including gamifying the ice-cream buying process. The final pitches were presented to the panel of judges from Unilever including Amir Paracha, VP Customer Development, Sohail Baig, CFO and Faheem Khan, VP Supply Chain. The panel also included Rabia Garib, Chief Editor The New Spaces, Farzal Dojki, Co-Founder and CEO Dot Zero, and Farrukh Omer, Founder and COO ValueLink Software.

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—File Photo

“This was my first hackathon”, said Shazia Syed, CEO Unilever Pakistan. “We have a problem and we have come to you guys (participants), and I’m overwhelmed to see that you all know exactly what you are doing here. It’s a great opportunity because you are our consumers and maybe our future employees or collaborators if you continue being involved in the ideas you pitch. We have came here with an open mind and will take back something exciting”, said Shazia while addressing the audience. The hackathon ended Sunday night followed by a networking session amongst the participants and representatives of Unilever.

The growing interest of multinational organizations like Unilever in hackathons is great news for the startup community as it will provide more opportunities for entrepreneurs to engage with corporates and exchange ideas.—PR

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