Global COVID-19 hackathon seeks Tampa Bay Area techies

Cal Tiger, a Clearwater entrepreneur, is sending out an urgent call for help. He’s looking for local techies -- developers, designers, marketers, and medical experts -- to join his team in the “Global Hack” on April 9-11.

Over a 48-hour period, people from around the world will participate in a unique hackathon that will be completely virtual, says Tiger.   

The former co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of startup Blue Ocean Makers, Tiger is heading up a global team of entrepreneurs and innovators who will be competing against other teams from more than 40 countries. 

The goal is to identify novel innovative solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes solutions to everything from how to stop the spread of the virus to how to deal with the socio-economic crisis that is impacting the workplace, healthcare, food security, government services, transportation, logistics, and the environment.

“We will be coming up with bright ideas, especially to address public health issues. There’s a huge push to get past the barriers,” says Tiger. “For example, it could be as simple as finding a solution to help people clean their homes to protect against the virus, to assisting hospitals in using the power of technology, such as smartphones for patient care.”

Organizers of the April 9-11 hackathon write in a prepared statement: “The Global Hack aims to partner people from around the world with one another to exchange ideas, know-how, and best practices to come up with creative and nimble solutions. Talent is everywhere and we want to unleash it in every corner of the globe.”

The event organizers are based in Estonia, located on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. “Estonia is the one of the most wired countries on the planet,” Tiger says.

The Global Hack The Crisis project is the brainchild of Accelerate Estonia, a startup initiated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Estonia; Garage48, a startup hackathon series; and Guaana, an ongoing platform for innovation.  

“A friend of mine in Estonia contacted me and asked me to get involved,” says Tiger. “We had a couple of conference calls and I started putting together a team. It has all happened quickly.”

The April 9-11 hackathon is not the Estonian group’s first initiative. The first hackathon took place in mid-March, with more than 1,100 people from 20 countries and 14 time zones participating.  The success of that event encouraged the group to reach out even further and organize the global initiative in April.

“Hackathons are not a new idea. We’ve been doing that in Tampa Bay for a while. They usually take place over a weekend and they’re in person. But because of COVID-19, we needed another option. We’ll be doing everything virtual,” says Tiger.

It’s free to participate. The minimum number of people per team is four. The recommended maximum number is 12, although there is no rule limiting the number of members.

“Nearly half of humanity is under lockdown. Online, without borders, tech activists are joining forces to rapidly build solutions. It’s time to unite for the biggest hack of our lives,” says Elis Tootsman, spokesperson for Accelerate Estonia.

The European Commission has agreed to provide up to 75,000 euros for prize money to the winning teams, with additional funding from other organizations bringing the total prize money to 120,000 euros, reports Accelerate Estonia. Team submissions will be evaluated on feasibility, viability, and potential impact on society.

Several mentors have been invited to participate to help guide the teams, including Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sam Altman, European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, and Chairman of the Board of the Global Entrepreneurship Network Jeff Hoffman, among others.

To join Cal Tiger’s Tampa Bay Area team or learn more, contact him at [email protected]on Facebook, or call 727-565-8954.

For more information:
The Global Hack
Accelerate Estonia
YouTube video from India re: The Global Hack

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Janan Talafer.

Janan Talafer enjoys writing for a diverse group of clients, including print and online publications, nonprofit organizations and public relations agencies. One of the highlights of her writing career was flying with the 91st Air Refueling Squadron out of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa FL for a feature about this elite military team. A journalism graduate of Bowling Green State University (OH), Janan’s early career was in health care marketing and public relations for hospitals in Connecticut and Tampa Bay. She is an avid gardener, loves East Coast swing dance and enjoys touring around St. Petersburg on the back of her husband’s scooter.