In our bid to home grow disruptors and innovators, University of Westminster has been running Hackathon events for nearly a decade. Originating from the idea of computer coders coming together to literally ‘hack’ the system, Westminster Hackathon events go one step further, to address problems across our academic disciplines – from legal to humanities. On the day of the event, student teams are presented with real-world industry problems which they work on under pressurised, timed conditions. At the end of the day, they present their final solutions or ‘pitches’ to a panel of expert judges, from a variety of public, private and third sector organisations.

Past challenges faced by student teams have included: 

  • To create innovative and original ideas to influence customers’ buying behaviour 
  • To tailor strategic communication to key audience demographics e.g., youth, diverse or global audiences 
  • To develop legal technology concepts and pitch prototypes

Challenges can be set by the participating organisations themselves, or, alternatively, WeNetwork can prepare them. 

Upskilling the next generation of leaders 

Hackathon offers considerable benefits, both to participating students and participating organisations. 

Thrown in at the deep end, students work together as a team to create fresh and innovative solutions to the problems in front of them, as the clock ticks.

As well as promoting entrepreneurship, the experience offers an incredible baptism of fire, when it comes to communication and presentation skills. It also offers students the valuable opportunity to gain feedback directly from leading industry professionals.

For our volunteer organisations, Hackathons can essentially be used as problem-solving sessions for their sector or industry, covering practical difficulties such as creating of a piece of marketing software, or better understanding a customer-base. This gives prospective employers of all stripes the chance to evaluate, improve and upskill the next generation of talent.

Opening minds and opening doors 

Like so many University of Westminster initiatives, diversity lies at the heart of Hackathon.  

Firstly, by bringing diverse perspectives to problems commonly faced by industries where diversity is often lacking. And secondly, by giving students from a variety of backgrounds the opportunity to build valuable career skills.  

These events are open to all Westminster students – including those who may not have had the opportunity to take part in extracurricular activities of this kind at school or college. The minimal preparation required also opens up the experience to students with work or family commitments, who might not otherwise have had the time to take part. 

Participating organisations in the recent past has included: 

Channel 4, Meta, BBC News, WaterAid, Brand Advance, Mind, The Law Society, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Cloud Industry Forum  

Past event sponsors have included: 

Coca Cola, Agile Elephant, Wavelength, the Cambridge Strategy Group 

Could you challenge our students? 

If your business, organisation or charity is currently facing a problem or challenge, why not tap into the enthusiasm and talent within our student body? The University of Westminster is home to over 20,000 students from 155 nations – one of the most diverse, multicultural student bodies in the world. 

Hackathons are just one of the many events offered through WeNetwork, alongside expert-led workshops and Inspirational talks; industry networking events; 1:1 business advice and support; paid freelance work and jobs listings; and competitions for start-up funding.  

To find out how your organisation can sponsor hackathon, please get in touch with the Development Team via [email protected]