FROM HACKATHON TO STUDENT ENTERPRISE: AN EVALUATION OF CREATING SUCCESSFUL AND SUSTAINABLE STUDENT ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITY INITIATED BY A UNIVERSITY HACKATHON

D. Cobham, C. Gowen, B. Hargrave, K. Jacques, J. Laurel, S. Ringham

University of Lincoln (UNITED KINGDOM)
Hackathons are a worldwide phenomenon, with both industry and educators considering the opportunities and benefits that they generate. They can provide a forum for innovation, networking, and product design and development, thereby offering multiple outcomes including the initiation of entrepreneurial activity. This paper develops the authors’ previous work on the effectiveness of utilising a hackathon as the spark for creating student entrepreneurial activity by considering the success of the student enterprise that was created as a result. Using a case study approach, the paper seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of using hackathon-type events to initiate a successful University student enterprise project and to identify the key elements in the organisation of such a hackathon event that might lead to a sustainable and effective student enterprise. The paper outlines the findings from this project, and concludes with a series of recommendations from the authors, on how one should market and structure a hackathon, based on the evaluation of the student enterprise project one year after it was founded.

The project was part of the institution’s “Student as Producer” initiative where students and staff work side-by-side on research projects. Undergraduate students were fully involved in all aspects of the project, including an independent team who contributed to the authoring of this paper.