IncuBus hosts Appathon UK hackathon on bus

Startup incubator holds hackathon for university students ahead of Appathon UK’s winners’ ceremony this week

Startup incubator IncuBus Ventures hosted an Appathon UK hackathon event for university students recently.

Appathon UK is a competition launched by the entrepreneurial education network Founders4Schools and not-for-profit technology events organisation Silicon Valley comes to the UK (SVC2UK), which challenges young people to find technology solutions for the challenges around them.

The competition is part of the Create! Campaign, which aims to help students link the science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) skills they are learning at school with creating the IT businesses of the future.

School students are asked to think up an app that could change their lives for the better and submit their idea to the pubic voting platform.

University students pick up the ideas and build the favourite app ideas into working prototypes. 

Founders of IncuBus Ventures, Rishi Chowdhury and George Johnston hosted a weekend to give the university students space to interpret the submitted projects.

Universities including Kings College, Westminster and Kingston attended.

Chowdhury said: “We met with Founders4Schools a few months ago and realised we’re all on the same mission – they told us about the Appathon UK and that was exactly up our street.

“We host several hackathons on the bus and opened the doors for a few weekends for university students to hack for the Appathon UK.”

He said Google mentors came along to the event too, “so in not a lot of time we got a lot done. By the end of the weekend we had four completed videos and apps, all of them really good and high-quality.

“One I hope gets made, as it’s addictive – Paint with Friends. It was created by one of the youngest children who came up with the idea of basically painting with your friends.”

Paint with Friends is a gaming app which allows you to start with a blank canvas for painting. The user chooses a colour and paints something before sending it on to a friend with a suggested colour for them to use. The friend paints something, suggests a colour for their friend, and sends it back.

The app Quick Coffee was also built on the Incubus bus, which allows the user to find local coffee outlets, place an order and pay beforehand to beat the queue when you go in to collect it.

“A range of apps were built, not just gaming. A school messaging network was created and a Green Seed app which was designed to find locals who were buying and selling plants to create a community for local gardening questions,” added Chowdhury.

Chowdhury started his career at technology startup Huddle on the online marketing and customer acquisition side of things, whilst his co-founder George Johnston also worked at Huddle as a sales engineer.

After working for startup companies themselves Chowdhury and his co-founder felt there was a lack of support for young entrepreneurs between 18 and 25 and so started IncuBus, offering personal development skills along with the knowledge of how to build a business with products and services.

The company partners with the likes of KPMG, NatWest, Rackspace and EE to help provide resources to their startup community.

Chowdhury said: “IncuBus Ventures is primarily aimed at students 18+ wanting to start their own business and wondering how to launch it and get a product started. You have to be committed to the idea of your startup.

“If you’re starting your own business you tend to be a bit different to other people anyway. It’s about not being afraid to fail, but knowing how to learn from it.”

Winners of the Appathon UK will be announced at an awards ceremony at the House of Commons this week.

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