Did girls like the All Girls Hackathon?

On the 27th and 28th of June 2014, NASSCOM 10,000 Startups organized Girls in Tech. Bizathon was a two day hackathon where women entrepreneurs, ideasmiths, developers and designers got a hands-on experience on validating their idea, building business plans, marketing and design. We have two women to share their experience of the first all girls Hackathon

Shalini Nautiyal

Techie by profession, creative by passion, unemployable & unpaid by choice J. Shalini is the founder of Coffee Mug Ideas and leads Product development and Marketing for her recently launched Product Yipeedo.

Mom of a 15 month old Rockstar, she is a mompreneur!

Thanks to a world so well connected due to social media, I got to know about “Bizathon for girls” via a friend on Facebook.

The name itself got me curios and I decided to explore it right away. The Agenda was crisp and well thought out. Being a women entrepreneur / Mompreneur, I felt that attending the event would be a great learning and networking opportunity, so I went ahead and registered.
The presentation by Indu Jayaraman at Bizathon was extremely insightful. She talked about “Building A Business Model Canvas, What are the challenges”. During her talk, she raised an interesting question asking, “If you are making ceramic mugs, who are your competitors?”

Many of us who were in attendance answered, “Other companies who make ceramic mugs and pots like Cera”. However one lady in the audience mentioned it would be a “Disposable cup maker”. That in turn got us thinking about surrogate competition as well. And it was then that the out-of-the-box ideas came pouring.

Lesson #1 learnt! “Think outside the box”.
Once the presentation by Indu Jayaraman got over, I checked with a volunteer about the group formations for Bizathon and got to know that groups were already formed & I got a tag that read “Late comer”

Lesson #2 learnt “Never be late for such events where youL work in teams. You might have unknowingly missed being part of a great journey”
I had quite a different picture in my mind of what a hackathon would be like and what Bizathon turned out to be. I was under the notion that people with a certain expertise such as the ‘ ideas & execution strategy folks (counting myself as one of them), the coders, the business development people and marketers would be put in different groups. However, what I found was, all the participants, at same level, came together to make for a perfect team like that of a real startup, where anyone would quickly pick up any task and execute it to perfection.

And so, lesson #3 was learnt “Go with a clean slate at such events and be ready to jumpstart anything that comes your way. Most importantly, get out of your comfort zone”
Our team took a little longer than we should have to decide which idea we wanted to execute. As a result when we went to pitch our business plan we realized that we had to give the idea a name & colour! Like really? No one in our team even knew we had to think of a theme colour!

Lesson #4 learnt “Listen Listen Listen! Don’t just talk!”

As a result of having taken time, we were the last ones to pitch and the attention we got was considerably lower than what others had got.

Lesson #5 learnt “Be Fast, real fast!”
Another disadvantage we had was that we were unable to interact with the judge on a 1:1 basis because our lean canvas wasn’t filled out within the time given to us.

Lesson #6 learnt “Team dynamics can make or break your idea”
Bizathon was an event that was truly about team execution and bringing out the real you, so one could assess themselves as a team player. While we didn’t win or even make it to the top 5 teams, it was a huge learning for me and I want to thank 10,000 Startups, NASSCOM and Jnaapti for making this event possible.
Being a first generation woman entrepreneur in my family, it hasn’t been easy to get people to understand what I had decided to do when I quit my comfortable 9-6 IT job. And it is events such as Bizathon that helps women like me get motivated and aggressive about pursuing our dreams.
I’m now looking forward to attending the next such event and doing much better next time round!
To round things off, here’s a quote that I felt was the soul of Bizathon.
“Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concerns without fear of reprisal.”

Jaya Sharma

Software Engineer at Intuit
Mtech,Indian Institute of Information Technology
Bengaluru Area, India

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jaya-sharma/13/3a3/340

I attended the Bizathon event held on 28th and 29th of June at the 10,000 Start-ups NASSCOM campus. A two-day long event that allowed women to get hands on experience in validating their ideas, building business plans and learning about marketing and design, I found the crowd that came for the hackathon to be one that was a diverse mixture of women techies, entrepreneurs and IT/CS students of colleges from all over the city of Bangalore.

Day One

The day started with a talk by Indu Jayaraman on the startup principal and process. She shared with us, the Lean Canvas and what it takes to startup. The second session of the day was a marketing talk by Som Singh about how to market your idea using all channels available.

After that session, participants were asked to ideate and come up with product ideas within a stipulated 30 minutes. Our group came up with a product named “Merry Me – Bring out the bride in you”. Our product aimed to solve the problem of brides who lived far from home and didn’t get ample time before the wedding to prepare as extensively as they would have liked. Usually in such cases, the brides have to ensure everything is done within a short span of time or they leave it up to their parents to decide and arrange everything, both of which often leads to a certain amount of dissatisfaction amongst brides.

The product we proposed was a live community where soon-to-be brides could register 6 months prior to their wedding and share the ideas and problems with each other. The idea was if a bride wanted to try something and shared her thoughts on this forum, she could decide whether or not to go with that option based on the feedback she got from others in the forum. Our future steps for the product also included building a network of small business that would cater to the wedding needs of these brides.

We validated our idea with a few ladies at the event and worked on things such as cost structure, revenue streams, target customer segments and marketing channels. Most importantly, we came up with a unique value proposition of our solution.

And what do you know…my team won the First Prize!

Day Two

The second day was all about technology and hands-on design related work on how to design a website for the startup.

The day started with a talk on User Experience by Kiran Subbaraman followed by hands on sessions. Team Jnaapti helped all the participants develop an HTML, CSS and Jquery website for their ideas.

Overall, the experience at Bizathon was one that was inspiring and a place where one got to meet women from all over and across industries. Add to that, we all got the chance to understand the challenges startups and entrepreneurs face today and how to overcome them.

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