GlobalHack VII seeks innovation to help foreign-born residents | St. Louis Public Radio

GlobalHack VII seeks innovation to help foreign-born residents

Oct 5, 2017

The St. Louis-based, non-profit group, GlobalHack has announced the focus for its seventh hackathon a full year ahead of the event.

GlobalHack VII attendees will build software solutions to help meet challenges facing foreign-born and refugee communities in St. Louis. The teams will compete for $100,000 in cash prizes at the Oct. 12-14, 2018 event.

Executive Director Matt Menietti said the non-profit group wanted to build relationships with stakeholders and get a sense of what’s needed.

“It makes a lot of sense to forge those pathways way before the event, so that come October and November 2018, if and when something is produced that’s viable, we’ll have buy-in from those communities and something that will move the needle for the immigrant services community,” he said.

Menietti said he’s met with the International Institute of St. Louis, Casa de Salud and the St. Louis Mosaic Project, Saint Louis University and others.

One issue facing immigrants is the language barrier. Menietti said interacting with government, such as paying a property tax, can be especially challenging for immigrants.

“Is there a way that technology can help foreign-born individuals access city services, government services, the services provided by the International Institute and others more effectively?” he asked. “I think there’s an opportunity to explore that at the hackathon.”

With many immigrants also starting their own businesses, Menietti said there might also be room to figure out ways to use technology to get the word about those businesses out to others.

The 2018 hackathon will take place at the Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University. 

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman