Telenor Velocity, Google and UNDP come together to enable app developers at ‘Digital Hackfair’


Telenor Pakistan’s Digital Accelerator Program, Telenor Velocity, launched a hackathon, earlier this year, in collaboration with Google Developers, and UNDP Pakistan. The aim of this ‘Digital Hackfair’ was to find the best developers and get them to build impactful solutions using Google’s open-source Flutter toolkit. The grand finale happened at Telenor Pakistan’s Campus 345 and was attended by Google, UNDP Pakistan Innovation Acc-Lab’s team and Telenor Pakistan’s management.

The ‘Digital Hackfair’ received applications from over 570 app developers from across Pakistan including Islamabad, Jacobabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Haripur and Lahore among others. After a rigorous shortlisting process, around 50 apps were submitted contributing towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including FinTech, Connectivity, Agriculture, Gender, Education, Health, and Environment & Safety. 14 apps were shortlisted to pitch at the Grand Finale that happened at Telenor Pakistan’s Campus and top three apps won a total of PKR 600,000 in prize money.

“This Digital Hackfair aiming at digitizing solutions for sustainable development goals is proof of our commitment towards the ambition of Digital Pakistan” said Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO Telenor Pakistan and Head of Emerging Asia Cluster Telenor Group. “Through this initiative, we were successfully able to rally young, energetic and talented individuals to gather and develop state of the art solutions for socio-economic progress. Through initiatives like these and public-private collaborations, we hope to continue giving our youth the opportunities to become changemakers.”

“The silver lining of Pakistan’s growing population is its youth with 60% of them are under the age 30” said Sardar Mohammad Abubakr, Chief Digital and Strategy Officer, Telenor Pakistan. “At Telenor Pakistan, we envision to equip our youth with the right technological tools and skills to build a Digital Pakistan. This also reinforces our commitment to contribute towards UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through technological advancement.”

Speaking on the development, Tania Aidrus said in a message, “Pakistan is a country with immense talent and I’m happy to see Telenor Pakistan, Google, and UNDP Pakistan coming together to harness this potential. This Digital Hackfair is an example of giving a platform to our youth for constructive engagement and economic empowerment. Digitization is the future of Pakistan and only by developing a strong ecosystem of solutions in multiple domains can we achieve this ambition.”

The Digital Hackfair opened for applications in January 2020 for developers to use the power of code and build solutions using Google’s Flutter technology. Flutter aims to provide a framework for creating user experiences without compromise on any device or form factor and this is the first time a hackathon of this magnitude happened in the country while using this technology.

“We’re always glad to support Pakistan’s next generation of developers and entrepreneurs and it’s very exciting to see Flutter being put through its paces toward impactful, sustainable ends,” said Farhan Qureshi, Head of South Asia Markets, Google Asia Pacific. “Heartiest congratulations to all the winners and those shortlisted; may you all continue to iterate and improve.”

“The aim of UNDP Pakistan Innovation Acc-Lab is to identify grassroots solutions together with local actors and validate their potential to accelerate development. This HackFair provided us with an excellent opportunity to mobilize young grass root change makers” said Beenisch Tahir, Head of Accelerator Lab UNDP Pakistan.

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