Wollongong seeks to reinvent itself with start-up “Hackagong”

Wollongong is set to join the hackathon trend later this month as part of an ongoing attempt to reinvent the NSW city as a start-up hub.


“Hackagong” is a technology conference and hackathon competition where participants form teams and develop a product from idea to final demonstration over the course of a weekend.


It is the initiative of a non-profit organisation also called Hackagong, whose mission is to accelerate the growth of the Wollongong start-up ecosystem.


On the weekend of November 24-25, Hackagong will be hosted at the University of Wollongong. It will conclude with a conference at the university’s Unibar on Sunday evening.


According to event organiser Nik Cubrilovic, there are already 60 participants registered for the event, and tickets are limited. Cubrilovic says there will be prizes, but didn’t say what they are.


There will also be a brief matchmaking session before the event for those who don’t register as a team.


Participants will begin developing their applications at 10am on Saturday, and have until late Sunday afternoon to finish their product. They will then present their finished product in front of a large audience and judges.


“The presentation event on the Sunday begins at 4pm,” Cubrilovic says.


“All the teams will be doing a quick demo and we will have other short presentations, followed by drinks and food until late in the evening.”


This isn’t the first start-up initiative to come out of Wollongong. The University of Wollongong is heavily focused on transforming the city from a blue-collar base to a hub of innovation.


The region has also benefited from the Federal Government’s Illawarra Region Investment and Innovation Fund, designed to stimulate economic development in the area.


Meanwhile, the hackathon craze appears to be sweeping the nation, with everyone from Sensis and Pollenizer to the Vodafone Foundation jumping on the hackathon bandwagon.


Universities are also fans of the concept, including the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne.


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