Call for Code

Business Buddy wins our final Call for Code hackathon

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Authors:  Alison Haire, IBM Developer Advocate and DeveloperSteve Coochin, IBM Developer Advocate

Our final Call for Code Hackathon took place over the weekend of the 20th and 21st of June. Enthusiastic and powered up; teams across A/NZ came together to take on the challenge of building apps to fight climate change and COVID-19.

Hackathons are truly unique events. They inspire participants to think outside the box and deliver an energetic, positive and fun environment for innovation and collaboration. From learning new skills to networking, there’s so much that you can get out of events like this.

Solving through the night

Our virtual hackathon was out of this world.

Our virtual hackathon was out of this world.

Throughout the hackathon, we ran workshops, via the IBM Developer Twitch channel ( The sessions helped get teams thinking about tech architecture, product development and ways to take their solutions to scale. We also had mentors on hand from around the world to provide insights and inspiration.

As teams powered on through the night, we were joined by the Advocates from IBM Developer UK who helped with mentoring and code assistance way into the early hours of the A/NZ morning (special thanks to Liam Hampton and the crew).

As the sun rose on our virtual venue, we saw a hive of activity as teams prepared final edits, and refinements to their solutions based on last-minute feedback. After a fresh round of deliveroo vouchers, coffee and some light stretches, the teams prepared to present to our judging panel.

For the judging line up, we were joined by Steve King from Atlassian, Sandra Alday from the University of Sydney Business School, Dean Foley from Barayamal and Ben Peterson from IBM. The diverse judging line-up brought a wealth of experience, with a varied perspective on scaling solutions for consumers and businesses.

During the pitches, teams presented some exciting solutions – from building consumer awareness around utility consumption to community resiliency and defining risk preparednesses during times of crisis.

The stars that shined the brightest 

After much deliberation, the judges came up with the top two solutions developed over the weekend. While they were impressed by all the teams, it came down to the main criteria for scoring, which was feasibility, scalability and usability.

In second place was team 2IC who created a gamified app aimed at reducing the carbon emission footprint of consumers that leveraged a Watson AI chatbot as part of the UX/UI.

The first-place winners for the weekend were Business Buddy, a team of students from the University of Sydney. Jagen Yoon and Joshua Mok created an app that uses AI to help Small and Medium Enterprises adapt and grow in a post-COVID-19 era. The app acts as a one-stop-shop that analyses all available and applicable grants and services and presents these opportunities directly to SMEs via a Watson virtual assistant chatbot.

The winners and several other teams are now refining their solutions ready for submission to the Global Call for Code Challenge closing on July 31st. They’ll be in the running to win a USD 200,000 prize and see their solution deployed with the help of the Code and Response team, as well as receive invaluable mentoring along the way.

We’re looking forward to following their tech for good innovation journeys and cheering on their efforts to make a difference in the global arena!

The Call for Code global submission is open until July 31st. You can find out how you can get involved here.

A big thank you to everyone involved, especially the participants who really answered the call and a big shout out to our amazing mentors. Special thanks to our partners for the weekend from Here Technologies and Telstra, plus our amazing judges – Steve King, Dean Foley, Sandra Alday and Ben Peterson.


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