PayPal announces winners of its third Opportunity Hack event.

TN NGOs mechanism to alert about loans wins PayPal Opportunity Hack
news CSR Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 20:18

Global online payments major PayPal on Monday announced the winners of the third edition of the Opportunity Hack event held recently in Chennai. 

Opportunity Hack is a two-day event organized by PayPal under its CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiative where NGOs like Blue Cross discuss challenges and collaborate with developers to alleviate them.

The previous editions of the event have led to the discovery of path-breaking solutions.

This year the competition was won by Gramium, a Tamil Nadu-based non-profit which works in creating Self Help Groups and rural education. The winning team was awarded the cash prize of Rs. 1,20,000. The winning NGO took home INR 20,000.

An alert mechanism that notifies lenders/ borrowers about loan payment dues and deadlines, helping reduce loan defaults won it for Gramium.

The second position went to NGO Child which ideated and executed a mobile app for onboarding new donors, analysing donation patterns and establishing an “emotional connection” with donors.

The third piece of innovation which featured in the winner’s list was Surabhi Trust which came up with an app to counter administrative challenges in providing education to unprivileged children.

Speaking to The News Minute, a day ahead of the event, PayPal’s Director of Engineering, New Initiatives and Core Team Member, PayPal Social Innovation Sathish Vaidyanathan said, “This year in order to be more effective in terms of creating solutions, we narrowed down the gambit aligned to our company.”

This time the theme of the hackathon was limited to economic empowerment of underprivileged sections of the society. 

Speaking on the uniqueness of this year's event, he said, “We have been adding more elements to the Opportunity Hack every year. This time we urged all the people participating in the meeting to bring their children of age 12-18 years, who have an understanding of IT to participate in and support our pro bono volunteers.” 

“Once the competition is over, we engage with the developers and the NGO to refine the problem statement and improve on the prototype solution,” Vaidyanathan added. 

“We have been working with the non-profits for the past two-three weeks since the application forms were submitted by them in order to refine their problem statements and narrow it down to something that can meaningfully be attempted over the two-day period.”

“At the end of the two days, we will have a prototype solution like a mobile app or a reporting or administrative tool that they will be using. We intend to continue the engagement and refine the software solutions to something effective and can be installed into their systems,” Vaidyanathan explained. 

All the solutions devised at the event will be open source and if other non-profits want to work on or optimize the solutions, they can do so on open-source platforms like Github.

Last year, Blue Cross India developed an app through which animals in distress could be remotely notified or ambulances for animals could be summoned.

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