On August 1st and 2nd, a Hackathon aimed at the food industry, named Hackafood, was held at Unicentro. A Hackathon aims to create creative and innovative projects to solve problems, develop prototypes, create solutions or improve existing products and services.
The event was held by the Technological Innovation Agency, Novatec, Science Technology and Innovation Forum, Sebrae, Municipal Secretariats of Tourism, Science, Technology and Innovation and Education, Unicentro, Cilla Tech Park and Celeiro de Inovação with support from the Campo Real University Center, UniGuairacá University Center and the Brazilian Association of Bars and Restaurants, Abrasel.
According to Herta Stutz, PhD professor at the Department of Food Engineering at Unicentro, Hackafood was designed to bring the market experience to students. “This interaction was born from the moment I learned about how the Hackathon works, via Luciedi from Sebrae. We have a very good knowledge of all theory, but we lack this interaction sometimes more effective, with the practical part “, explains Herta.
In this first edition, the event was offered to students of Food Engineering, Nutrition, Chemistry, IT, Software Engineering and related areas. The companies Verdelândia, Tribal Pepper and Moinho São Luiz, presented their challenges and what they needed to improve so that students could create solutions.
During the dynamics, the participants formed teams and work intensively. In the two days, the academics elaborated the projects, had contact with mentors and with the owners of the companies to better understand the problems and what was possible to create.
For Heverson Pereira, a member of Nevalley and a resident of CTP, who participated as a mentor at the event, Hackafood had a very interesting methodology that gave all the structure for academics to build an MVP or Minimum Viable Product and validate it. “This is wonderful because we already bring innovation and we can get these students to start entrepreneurship within the university, which is perfect for our ecosystem, it is perfect for the university, it is perfect so that we can have more and more people running after solutions”, says Heverson.
In the final, held on day 2, the teams presented their projects to an evaluation panel. The teams were awarded both for the best solution for the company and for a general classification with all six teams. The teams won consultancies from Sebrae, support from the Incubator, gifts and the general classification trophies were printed in the CTP Innovation Center, by the Maker Analyst, Jhonnathan Ferreira.
The winning team of the general challenge developed equipment to increase the shelf life of Tribal Pepper products without the need to add preservatives. For Vinicius Borszowslei, a Food Engineering student and member of the winning team, Hackafood was a great opportunity. “A very cool experience because we have this experience with the business environment, with problems that are not simple to solve, as they are in the classroom, we need to consider several variables for elaborations and for the solution of a problem, so it is for us to understand this breadth of the solution of our problems “, he concluded.
This connection between the University and the Companies not only benefits the students who can have this real experience, but also provides companies with new solutions, new perspectives and business opportunities with students. For Dayane Lubian, CEO of Verdelandia, a CTP partner company, one of the benefits of these events is the discovery of talent. “Often students are living the study routine, worried about training and end up going unnoticed, some talents, so these events bring this to companies. We end up observing that there are people with great potential for the labor market “, she guarantees.
Cilla Tech Park and the CTP Innovation Center support and hold events like this because we believe that this way innovation reaches more people, providing society with better futures.