So what is a hackathon?

A hackathon is a multi-day event in which developers and others involved in software development, including creative designers, project managers and subject-matter-experts, collaborate intensively on business projects linked by a theme.

Does this have anything to do with cybercrime?

Nothing at all. "Hackathon" is a combination of the words "hack" and "marathon", where "hack" is used in the sense of exploratory programming. A hackathon is about innovation, creativity and exploration around a theme – in our case the theme is adding value to the primary industries of the Nelson/Tasman region.

How does HackNelson compare with Startup Weekend?

There is definite overlap in terms of duration, intensity, innovation and some of the tech and business skills involved. The big thing with HackNelson is that it is problem-led. Everyone is focused on solving real problems that real Nelson businesses already care about. This is not about inventing a business from scratch, it is about unlocking new value for established businesses and creating opportunity for the innovators as well.

Can we create our own teams for the event? or do you select the teams?

Could be either or. We encourage people to create their own teams and select a business pitch they would like to work on. You can visit the 'Participants' page to view business problem pitches. Teams will be created on the day though for anyone not part of an existing team, so don't be shy if you are entering alone.

Why does it cost money to participate?

Even though participants will need to purchase tickets, HackNelson is a non-profit event, and wouldn’t be possible without our sponsors – ticket sales will not cover all event expenses. The $99 participant fee ($49 for students) goes towards paying for venue hire, meals for the whole weekend, an event t-shirt, and, well that’s pretty much that money spent! Putting costs aside, we believe the networking opportunities and educational value through mentor guidance and team collaboration far exceeds the cost, let alone the materials covered by ticket sales.

Who owns the solution ideas?

Everyone!  The key is collaboration, working together and having trust and confidence in each other. However, there is always a mutual opportunity for companies and individuals to further the relationship and ideas after the event.

Is there a limit to the size of the teams?

No – we’re thinking around 6 – 10 people per team, but similar events have had team sizes ranging from 5 to 20 people, so anything goes.

This event seems to be looking for economic outcomes only – what about social and other benefits to the region?

This is one piece of a larger innovation/strategy for the Top of The South region.  We’re looking to drive innovation and local revenue, and then all the other good stuff can happen.  If you’re not making money, then it’s really hard to provide good social and community outcomes.  This is just one step.

Is this just about software or is it more holistic?

Definitely more holistic!  Think of it as a blank sheet, with freedom and creativity when it comes to the approach and outcomes.  The process and the journey are equally as important as the outcome.

So this isn’t about making an app?

It could be, or it may be something completely different.  The teams will likely have a mix of different mind types, so anything is possible!

Are the problem owners open to hearing that maybe they haven’t considered that another problem is causing this problem?

Definitely - Don’t hold back!

Will there be an opportunity for questions about the problems, and seeing sample data, before the event?

We are working with the problem owners on this, but you won’t see the data beforehand.