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A group of Booz Allen Hamilton employees joined data scientists, designers, engineers, students from Washington University and members of the Delmar Loop community in Saint Louis, MO, for the Delmar Loop Social Impact Hackathon.
The hackathon, sponsored by Washington University’s Skandalaris Center and the Delmar Loop Innovation Neighborhood (DLIN), challenged participants to discover ways to bridge the gap between the disadvantaged and affluent sides of the famous Saint Louis neighborhood, and to “create an Innovation Neighborhood in the Loop that attracts and retains creative geniuses and accelerates socioeconomic growth.”
Team “Booz Allen O’Fallon” was made up of firm employees Joe Meilinger, Kamy McCall, Joe Laurine, and Mark Pedigo, as well as Washington University students and a member of the local community. Their idea—to develop a local incubator that would provide an outlet for young artists in the community— took second place in the competition.
Mark Pedigo said, “The Delmar Loop Incubator would provide a nurturing and collaborative environment for local musicians while working to with small business increase business for the neighborhood under a not-for-profit umbrella foundation (FeedbackLoop). In turn, local businesses would partner with the incubator, focusing revenue developed through the artistic output on social good projects in the area north of Delmar Blvd.”
“Thanks to @SkandalarisCtr for hosting Delmar Loop Social Impact #Hackathon! #HacktheLoop http://bit.ly/1VWxaz1”
The team donated its prize money back to their Washington University student teammates, who will now work to brand the incubator with local businesses in the Delmar Loop, find a physical space, set up the not-for-profit 501(c)(3), and develop mentors and artistic assets to launch the incubator.
The team has already been contacted by local St Louis business owners on how to capitalize on their innovative work and bring the social good ideas to fruition in the Delmar Loop area.
"Competing in this non-traditional hackathon really forced me to stretch away from focusing on purely-technical solutions," said Joe Meilinger. Colleague Joe Laurine added, “I was impressed by the excitement and commitment of the event coordinators, and am interested to see how the group moves forward with the ideas that were pitched.”
“Working with college students was inspiring-- they were so excited and determined to be a part of making a positive change," Kamy McCall said.
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