Irish Impact Report

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From Riyadh to Dublin: collaborating for impact

Two cities, two universities, two hackathons, one shared goal.

  • All around the globe, no matter what country the office is located in, Deloitte shares a common purpose: to make an impact that matters for our clients, our people, our community and our planet. This common global goal united two Deloitte teams, on different sides of the globe, in coming together to support university students in creating societal change.

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Deloitte volunteers supported a financial literacy hackathon in collaboration with the female-only university Princess Nourah University (PNU). Aimed to empower young women and develop their financial literacy skills, this weekend event involved over 250 students from the university, with eight teams going forward to the final. The final then took place in the Deloitte Riyadh office where the Deloitte volunteers assisted 40 undergraduate and postgraduate students in digitising their concepts from idea generation through to final pitches.

Almost 7000km away, Deloitte colleagues in Dublin were also prepping to support a weeklong social innovation hackathon with Dublin City University called DCU Hack4Change.

In DCU, the goal was to run five hackathons in five days, with a jam-packed array of academic and industry engagement. DCU Hack4Change was created to allow students explore major social themes, and ideate solutions to challenges around Mental health and Wellbeing (the topic of the Monday event); fast fashion (Tuesday); Smarter Travel (Wed); Climate Action (Thurs) and Diversity & Inclusivity (Fri).

Over 500 students had the chance to brainstorm innovative solutions around these topics, assisted by a set of informative prompts and a customized HackCanvas created by University staff. Academic and industry specialists were brought in to provide the students with expert insight and mentorship. Over the course of the week, over 90 experts delivered keynote sessions and ‘lightning’ talks, provided small-group mentoring to help the student teams develop and refine their ideas, and judged pitch presentations held at the end of each day. Within the initiative, the support of Deloitte was instrumental in providing funding for prizes and numerous voluntary mentors and judges.

DCU students getting ready to Hack4Change

As innovative capacity and problem solving are core to the Deloitte mission and everyday actions, our volunteers were on hand to show the student teams the benefit of engaging in ideation and ‘hacking’ a problem in this manner. In particular, the Deloitte staff were credited for their demonstration to teams of the importance of drawing upon user-centred insights, and a focus on the overall societal need of presented new ideas.

While both hackathons focused on different subjects, they were both intended to encourage university students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, a global perspective, and empower them to engage in building solutions to current needs. By sharing their professional skills, volunteers from both Dublin and Riyadh created a high-energy environment and safe space for students to learn both personally and professionally.

Both hackathons were created in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals and aligned to Deloitte’s WorldClass commitment to positively impact 50 million futures globally by 2030. The Deloitte volunteers played an important part in shaping the entrepreneurial spirit in these students, and have been thanked sincerely by the organisers in both University.

"I really liked that the hackathon supported the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Deloitte’s ‘WorldClass’ programme, which aims to impact more than 50 million futures through education and skills-building by the year 2030, with 200,000 targeted in the Middle East region"

Joud Alohali, Deloitte Saudi Arabia

"This experience has given me a different perspective of social entrepreneurship, and specifically on the process of creating an idea. A solution to a social issue is not just created with a simple idea there and then. It involves a synergy of resources, entrepreneurs, and more to create a successful solution. Understanding the problem is as important as the idea and it must be validated in order to be successful. Outside support from entrepreneurs, societies, institutions etc., showed me that an entrepreneur doesn’t have to be independent when creating an idea. I experienced the process entrepreneurs endure rather than just seeing the final result, which gave me a greater insight into social entrepreneurship."

James Daniel Ryan, DCU student

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