LONDON, September 30, 2016

First Live London/Riyadh Hackathon Sees Enterprising Youth Start Up Tech Innovations to Aid World Health

Expert global leaders in the fields of technology, innovation, creative business and health, and leading female entrepreneurs, today announce plans to partner with Saudi Arabia’s MiSK Foundation by hosting the first ever dual-nation Hackathon to dream up and develop tech solutions to the world’s most challenging health and medical problems.

Funded by MiSK and supported by global and local partners within technology, innovation and health, the event will be broadcast live as mixed gender teams collaborate in tandem across the two nations on 25-27 November in London and Riyadh. Themed ‘The Medical Internet of Things’ the contest will bring together the most inventive British and Saudi young minds, challenging them to change the world and save millions of lives in 48 hours by developing an innovative new tech health invention.

Comments Badr Al-Asakir, MiSK Foundation Secretary General: “Youth empowerment and entrepreneurialism, health and wellbeing are the life blood of a prosperous, diverse and thriving economic future. With life expectancy, health issues and service costs all escalating and becoming a global challenge, we believe that finding timely and innovative solutions to these problems are critical. The Hackathon is designed to contribute to these goals.”

Supported by world-leading mentors and specialists, up to 400 participants will work in mixed teams and pitch their life-changing idea to an expert panel. The winning team will receive the tools and means to bring their tech health concept to market, including ongoing training and mentoring, and a USD $10k investment.

Supporting the event, Hashim Alawadi, Vice-Chair, Saudi British Joint Business Council, said: “Today, with technology the driver of global progress, great innovation can come from anyone and anywhere. Effective, affordable and sustainable health provision is increasingly one of humanity’s greatest challenges.

“As an investor and entrepreneur we look to invest in products that will drive huge change globally, and improve human lives. By bringing together the best young minds across different nations, ages and genders, we can create change.”

Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer in Intensive Care Medicine at Imperial College London, Francesca Rubulotta, welcomed the timeliness of the initiative, saying: “With increasing health care needs and expectations placing even more demand on an accelerating NHS deficit, relying solely on current health provision is no longer a viable or sustainable option. Thanks to new and emerging technologies, breakthrough solutions can be tested and implemented. New ways of sharing information and knowledge are needed as well, especially working in emergency or intensive care medicine at the front line of new pandemics or conflicts. Initiatives such as this will genuinely optimise the use of current resources and potentially save millions of lives around the world.”

The initiative is part of a long-term programme to drive transformative change in Saudi Arabia by building entrepreneurs within cultural innovation, business creativity and technology & leadership. Young talent nurtured by programmes such as these will return significant knowledge capital to Saudi Arabia as part of the Deputy Crown Prince’s ambitious Vision 2030 economic blueprint.

His Royal Highness comments: “By applying our sovereign wealth to invest in technology, diversify our economy through knowledge and intellectual capital, and bring about healthcare improvements not just for the kingdom, but for all of mankind, we are setting the stage for our next generation and our future.”

The initiative has also been applauded by senior female figures for its ambition to reach, empower and inspire millions of young females into technology innovation and creative business within the UK and Saudi Arabia.

Comments Jan Ward, former UK Female Entrepreneur of the Year and founder of energy business, Corrotherm: “As the first cross-cultural, mixed gender event designed to provide health solutions to world problems, it’s an important and progressive step forward. I’m a huge champion of empowering more young men and women into business and leadership roles, and want to see more programmes like this which have my full support.”