Beginning on Wednesday evening, techies from all over the country, most from the tri-state area, gathered in Newark, New Jersey for Brick City’s Tech Week. From a discussion providing tips for entrepreneurial success and TEDxNJIT, the first TEDx program in the city to focus on technology, to STEM Day at St. Phillips Academy and a policy discussion on reshaping Newark into this country’s next tech hub, the five-day period was packed with immense learning, networking and good ol’ blerd fun.
Blerdology, the social enterprise focused on sustaining the black tech community, brought its 24-hour hackathon series, #blackhack, to Rutgers Business School where close to 20 minority coders and developers hacked it out to develop apps and websites for local non-profits and startups. The charity hackathon was sponsored by Newark-based interactive media firm Medina Citi and energy efficiency company OPOWER, and garnered corporate and community partners like the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development at Rutgers Business School, MailChimp, Brick City Development Corp. and Initiative Consulting Group. Newark Mayor Cory Booker stopped in, lending his support to the entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and students in attendance.
“We saw Newark as an emerging tech hub, and we really felt there were a lot of elements here, and that Newark had creative people and creative entities that made it a great fit for the next great tech Mecca in the United States,” said Amanda Spann, co-founder and CMO of Blerdology.
Rutgers Business School juniors Christopher Arthur and Christopher Akparanta worked on building a prototype for their startup’s website. The duo, who founded CampusBord, a platform that allows students to better communicate, network and connect with each other, won this weekend’s hackathon. CampusBord’s website and app will take flyers and digitize them, so that students have access to those materials on their smartphones and computers. The business majors plan to soak up all the feedback they get and roll their service out to the Rutgers New Brunswick campus, Princeton University, Montclair State University, The College of New Jersey and Kean University.
“Going forward, we have other great ideas we plan to develop and include in the service to increase traffic to the website, and make the entire college experience of students even more worthwhile,” Arthur said.
There were several entrepreneurs and startups present at Blerdology’s latest hackathon. Here’s a look at what the digital do-gooders were working on:
Founded by Princeton graduates Carron White and Ruth Fombrun, SAHSHÉ offers women of color a subscription-based service that delivers stylish bags of 4-5 personalized hair care, skin care and cosmetic samples right to their doorstep for $12 a month. What places SAHSHÉ in its own lane is the technology and data used to remove the legwork in finding products that actually work.