Waikato’s hub for entrepreneurs, Soda Inc. is collaborating with Callaghan Innovation and startup centres around New Zealand to solve real problems in a post-COVID-19 New Zealand. The 48hour challenge dubbed ‘Hack the Crisis NZ’ kicks off on 17 April and challenges New Zealanders to design, test and bring to life innovative ideas beyond COVID-19.

Soda Inc. CEO Erin Wansbrough said this initiative is a masterclass in collaboration. “The initiative was launched to the public on the 8 April and already over 600 people have registered to participate, 41 problem statements have been submitted, 30 mentors have been secured to guide teams during the challenge and four high profile judges will offer prizes and follow-on support for the top teams. Confirmed judges are mental health advocate Mike King, CEO of Callaghan Innovation Vic Crone & Founder of Eat My Lunch Lisa King,” says Wansbrough.

Soda Inc. has pulled key supporters and mentors of the postponed NZ Startup Bootcamp together to help support this new initiative. Hamilton City Council is the latest to pledge its support and offer sponsorship to help the top teams get their ideas off the ground.

Council’s Economic Development Committee Chair Ryan Hamilton said Council was proud to be part of the solution to support our communities. “Hack the Crisis NZ is a great initiative to stimulate innovative and entrepreneurial solutions during a challenging time. Part of our role at Council is to act as an enabler for initiatives that have the ability to provide wider benefit to our business and social communities. I’m looking forward to seeing the results.”

Hack the Crisis NZ is 100% digital and will be run through online platforms Zoom, Slack and Guaana, meaning anyone with an internet connection can join the effort. Ideas can come from anywhere: we're looking for developers, designers, educators, mums, tradies, students, non-profit organisations, CEOs and librarians. We want people to jump in, sleeves rolled up, ready to out think, out design and out manoeuvre this crisis.

Hack the Crisis NZ want ideas that relate to the following impact areas:

  • Supporting businesses
  • Connecting communities
  • Resilience and wellbeing

Idea submissions and registrations close 5pm, Thursday 16 April.

More info at www.hackthecrisis.nz

Special mention to the core organising team; Laura Reitel (Callaghan Innovation), Kyra Piccione (Soda Inc.), Luke Ball (Creative HQ), Jayden Szekely (SayOk Creative) & Louise Evans (COIN South)