Very first “Female Hackathon” in Berlin brings together 30 women in seven teams over two days
What began in Berlin ten months ago as a routine project discussion culminated in the inaugural “Female Hackathon”. Kirsten Oppenländer, who is responsible for digital solutions for commercial clients at Deutsche Bank, is in a meeting with Carolin Gabor, a managing partner at Finleap, a “company builder”, and other representatives from the “Fintech Ladies” network.
A serial founder of fintechs like Finleap talking to a big bank about joint projects they are seeking to implement is no longer unusual. What is unusual, however, is that the representatives of both sides are female. Oppenländer and Gabor want to make such an occurrence less of a rarity and consider how they can bring together young women from the worlds of technology, products and business and open up career paths for them in the tech and finance sectors.
The completely new idea they hatch is the first Female Hackathon, a two-day ideas competition in which young female developers are given a challenge which they then have to work on together in teams.
Putting words into action: many other firms pledge their support, and one project team works out the details and begins turning the idea into reality. Less than a year later in Berlin the jury decides: the Space Hamster project is declared the winner of the inaugural Female Hackathon organised by Deutsche Bank and Finleap. A total of 31 women made their way to Berlin to take part. In just two days seven teams developed project ideas and got them pitch ready.
The competitors’ task: to develop a solution by women for women that allows them to monitor and plan their financial situation from the beginning of their working lives, to when they start a family, return to work and through to retirement. “The fact that women are underrepresented in the finance and tech sectors means topics such as financial planning, investment opportunities and retirement planning are frequently neglected by women”, explains Oppenländer. “It’s still the case that about 60 percent of retired females are dependent on their husband’s pension”, says Gabor.
In Space Hamster the jury ultimately chose a project that makes learning fun. The team’s three members: Mar High (designer and developer), Monika Ibrovnik (designer) and Sarah Huber (product developer) met for the first time during the event but got on well together from the start. Their idea: a game involving hamsters in space that enables children of any age to develop financial skills, an understanding of money, wealth and life in zero gravity.