BCIT TEC Hub Hosts VanHacks (for Social Good!)

Hackathons are now are a regular feature in Vancouver, but it’s especially great when they bring together young technical minds to solve society’s problems.

VanHacks (for social good) was hosted at BCIT’s Downtown campus TEC Hub last month. Spanning a full weekend, the event saw more than 200 participants working together in 34 teams to build tech solutions for worthy not-for-profit organizations in Vancouver.

Part of Vancouver Startup Week (VSW), VanHacks was founded by Vancouver iDevelopers Industry Association (ViDIA) and Two Tall Totems. The aim of the event was for more organizations to be served by the solutions built for the organizations that were represented – open source hacks are encouraged to multiply their potential benefit.

The five local groups served were:

  • The Ocean Wise Vancouver Aquarium conservation program educates and empowers consumers about issues surrounding sustainable seafood
  • Weekend Fuelbag works to address poor health and improper education by tackling malnourishment: students are given access to food on weekends so that they can come to school ready to learn.
  • Working Gear assists low-income men around the city looking to re-enter the workforce by providing them with work-appropriate clothing, from construction-wear and steel-toed boots, to casual attire and suits.
  • BabyGoRound supports families living in poverty, single parents, refugees, and mothers living in homeless shelters by giving them access to essential supplies.
  • Mealshare seeks to end youth hunger in our lifetime by partnering with local restaurants to donate meals to those in need.

Team Bakon won top prize with their amazing solution for Working Gear, with Axiom Zen taking second place. Special thanks go to Axiom Zen for donating their cash winnings of $1000 to the non-profit they served, BabyGoRound!

“VanHacks is all about serving those who serve Vancouver helping make it the great city it is. The energy that the hackers showed towards developing impactful solutions was awe inspiring,” comments Chris Hobbs, President of Two Tall Totems. “I am hoping the spirit of the event spreads beyond the weekend and helps guide more in the tech community to help fill non-profit groups’ technical debt.”

“It was very inspiring to see the spacious TEC Hub filled with caffeinated people eager to make a difference,” explained Hackathon Manager, Ross Haleliuk. “Hackathons allow people to make new connections, learn new skills, and to build portfolios of projects that can help to land a new job. VanHacks is a very unique experience as it also benefits our community and helps local non-profits – there are many challenges in society that can be solved with technology.”

Make sure to check out the photos from the event!


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