Empowering innovation to create a brighter future | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

How can innovation be harnessed to promote an inclusive workplace for persons with disabilities or foster more sustainable ecosystems?

This was among the real-world challenges that NUS undergraduates sought to address as part of the N-Novate X SDG Open Hack 2023 hackathon, which saw students developing innovative business ideas to make a positive impact on society and promote sustainability solutions.

The N-Novate Challenge is an annual sustainability hackathon organised by N-House, the entrepreneurship residence of NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC), and NUS Enterprise’s Innovation with Societal Impact. This year, the event was held in collaboration with the NUS Social Impact Catalyst and the Global Green Economic Forum (GGEF), a social enterprise that aims to promote innovation and sustainability.

Taking place on 13 and 14 May, it brought together the N-Novate Challenge and the GGEF’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Open Hack Singapore for the NUS campus edition of the SDG Open Hack. The SDG Open Hack Singapore is part of a global series of student hackathons endorsed by the United Nations. Winners from each campus edition organised by the various institutes of higher learning will compete at the National SDG Open Hack finals to be held in July 2023.

In the lead-up to the hackathon, 50 NUS undergraduate students attended two workshops to prepare themselves for the exciting journey ahead. They included a “Sustainable Living Workshop” conducted by NOC alumnus Kong Qi Herng, co-founder of the Moonbeam co, a start-up affiliated to NUS Enterprise, that produces granola from spent brewers’ grains. At the session, participants gained insights on the importance of considering the entire lifecycle of a product and implementing sustainable practices in entrepreneurship. Another workshop on social entrepreneurship, led by Treatsure, a start-up affiliated to NUS Enterprise, alongside Pawfoo, inspired and challenged participants to develop ideas aimed at addressing existing social and environmental problems.

Participants later formed teams as part of the N-Novate X SDG Open Hack 2023 to address problem statements related to real-world challenges that were developed in line with the UN SDGs. The problem statements this year focused on zero hunger (SGD 2), affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), as well as responsible consumption and production (SDG 12).

To help them formulate ideas and enhance their pitches, the teams attended a variety of workshops which ranged from brainstorming, to dissecting problem statements and delivering impactful presentations. Experienced mentors with extensive industry experience from GGEF also provided their generous support, imparting invaluable feedback and guidance to the teams’ ideas and solutions.

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