Information systems faculty, Nui Vatanasakdakul, Anis Charfi and Houda Bouamor, served as coaches throughout the Ooredoo 5G Hackathon.
Information systems faculty, Nui Vatanasakdakul, Anis Charfi and Houda Bouamor, served as coaches throughout the Ooredoo 5G Hackathon.

IS faculty fosters innovation, entrepreneurship at Ooredoo 5G Hackathon

Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) collaborated with community partners in education and industry for the Ooredoo 5G Hackathon, the first of its kind in the region. The virtual competition took place over three days, with faculty members from CMU-Q’s Information Systems Program serving as coaches in three categories.

CMU-Q joined the organizing team more than one year ago; when the pandemic restrictions began earlier in 2020, the team opted to move the entire event to a virtual format.

Houda Bouamor, an assistant teaching professor of information systems at CMU-Q, coached three teams during the event, including the winner of the media and entertainment category. “This type of collaboration with industry is a win-win experience for everyone. We share our expertise with emerging entrepreneurs, and we also see first-hand how professionals apply knowledge in a practical setting.”

More than 150 teams applied to be part of the event, 46 of which were selected. Teams competed in four categories: media and entertainment, SmartX, SportTech and EduTech.

Anis Charfi, associate teaching professor of information systems, was a key member of the organizing team: “Contributing to industry events like this is an important way CMU-Q can support Qatar’s evolution into an entrepreneurial society. This is a natural extension for information systems faculty, as we collaborate with community partners in many of our courses to provide students with real-world experience.”

CMU-Q offers several courses in the area of entrepreneurship, including tech startups, social commerce, and project courses that include industry clients.

“I’m very passionate about outreach to industry,” said Nui Vatanasakdakul, an associate teaching professor of information systems who coached one of the winning teams in the SmartX category. “We are making a real impact by helping to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Qatar, not only through educating our students, but by sharing our expertise with more established entrepreneurs.”

Since the first CMU-Q class graduated in 2008, many alumni have pursued entrepreneurial ventures, including Meddy, Stellic and The Perfume Factory. Alumni entrepreneurs not only contribute directly to the Qatar startup ecosystem, but they often return to campus to guide, inspire and mentor aspiring student entrepreneurs.

CMU-Q will hold the annual CarnegieApps Hackathon in early 2021, hosting students from across Qatar.



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