AUC School of Business Holds its First Regional COVID-19 Online Hackathon


The hackathon aimed at building a crisis response system in collaboration with 20+ partners in various sectors, leveraging on the entrepreneurship momentum in the region amidst the challenges faced due to the pandemic outbreak.


During the period of June 4-7, the AUC School of Business Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI), together with Entrepreneurs’ Society (ES) and The Student Union (SU) Real Life, joined forces with Etisalat Misr, Hack-19’s platinum partner, Robusta Studios, Wadhwani Foundation, and Injaz Egypt, to launch the first regional COVID-19 Online Hackathon (Hack-19.)

The COVID-19 Hackathon brought together teams of students from across the MENA region to engage in tackling the repercussions of the lockdown by finding quick and vital solutions for the current crisis using the design thinking methodology. The experience aimed to provide students with a unique learning experience on how to build different components of a response system that helps people, businesses, and nations deal with the current disruption.

With the guidance and mentorship of 43 subject matter experts and coaches, and evaluated by 26 esteemed judges, 137 teams of 2-4 university students came together during the period to work on building the crisis response system. The system supported three main themes: healthcare system support, life continuity, and wellbeing amidst forced and self-imposed quarantines that affect businesses, education, and day-to-day life, as well as wellbeing for supporting individuals to stay strong and deal with the aftermath of the pandemic.

Students chose one of the above-mentioned themes, then proceeded to generate a problem statement under its umbrella and worked throughout the three days on generating its solutions before pitching them to the panel of judges. The winning team, Team AMA from AUC, received a monetary prize of USD 1,000 in funding presented by Etisalat, in addition to the chance to attend an internship at the telecom giant. Additionally, the second-place team, El Da7ee7a, also from AUC, was awarded a monetary prize of USD 500.

In this context, Sara Adel, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Manager at Etisalat Misr emphasized: “At Etisalat Misr, our CSR strategy focuses on supporting youth and developing the health and technology, sector especially during these times of crisis.” Adel continues: “As a responsible investor and technology expert, we believe that it is our role to support the community through solutions to fight the impact of COVID-19 using different creative technologies.

Last but not least, the top 15 winners were granted free access to Wadhwani’s Online Advanced Entrepreneurship Course, while all participating teams were granted free enrollment in Maharat Min Google’s Online Program, as well as Injaz Egypt’s flagship Virtual Innovation Program.

It’s worth noting that this was the first hackathon of its kind to be organized by the School of Business and focusing on the current global situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, calling for unity against the crisis.

“Finding solutions for the disruption and devastation of the new normal caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has ignited a wave of hackathons around the world. These design-focused events bring together people with different skill sets to collaborate and develop a solution for a particular problem,” explains Hala Barakat, director, CEI, adding: “Our 3-day hackathon focused on problems that are caused by the outbreak and the repercussions of the lockdown rather than looking for a medical cure to the virus.”

Since its launch in 2010, CEI has been a pioneer hub for entrepreneurial stakeholders, not only in Egypt but also for the entire MENA region. Since its inception, CEI has worked diligently on promoting entrepreneurial education, supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and offering capacity building opportunities and research.

Stream the virtual closing event here.