15 February 2017, Written by Business News Australia


UP TO 80 of the country's top tech minds will converge on Brisbane's River City Labs next month when the startup accelerator plays host to the 2017 TechfugeesBNE hackathon.

Teams with a range of creative, tech, design and business skills are invited to take part in the three-day event, where they will collectively design a workable solution to problems faced by refugees in Australia today.

Refugees who have resettled in Queensland will also attend the event to give competitors a first-hand idea of the most common problems or barriers faced when seeking asylum in Australia.

Culminating in a Shark Tank-style pitch event, teams will showcase their solutions in front of an esteemed panel of judges for a chance to take out the top prize - a membership and workspace at River City Labs and Creative Enterprise Australia.

River City Labs CEO Peta Ellis (pictured top left) says the event is expected to attract people from a variety of different disciplines while also providing a unique opportunity to help create an understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by new settlers.

"We hope to see developers, designers, entrepreneurs and community members come together to share their skills and collaborate to overcome barriers faced by asylum seekers and refugees in their new homeland using technology," says Ellis.

"[Former refugees] will share first-hand knowledge on the hardships and challenges they had to go through to come to Australia just to attain freedom.

"They will sit together with participating teams and co-design solutions for new Australians."

Among the expected participants is Husna Nabi (pictured right), a 19-year old accounting and finance university student who arrived in Brisbane from Afghanistan in 2014.

Nabi is looking forward to passing first-hand knowledge onto her peers through the TechfugeesBNE competition.

"I have a lot of ideas on how we can help young people arriving in Australia and I am looking forward to sharing people who have the expertise on how to put into action," she says.

TechfugeesBNE teams will have the opportunity to access mentors directly from the local startup ecosystem, as well as representatives from companies including Marist180, MDA Ltd, Australian Red Cross and Welcome to Australia.

Brisbane is the newest city to host a Techfugees event, falling under the broader Techfugees Australia organisation.

The competition will run from March 17-19 at River City Labs. Interested teams must register by February 26.

Author: Business News Australia





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