Green Champions of Agri-thon
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
The day has arrived when it is time to announce the winners of the Agrithon, a joint venture by the Rotaract Club of the University of Kelaniya and EdScale Up. Considering both university and school-level applicants, the Agri-thon reached out to hundreds of schools across the country, inviting them to participate in the agriculture-based hackathon and create innovative solutions to problems currently found in the field of agriculture throughout Sri Lanka.
Speaking with the group of organisers, we learnt that the awards ceremony was held virtually on 30 June due to the current pandemic situation. Teams from each category gave their initial pitches, with only a handful of them moving on to the next round. Five teams of each category were considered during the finals, out of which the champions of Agri-thon were selected.
For the University category, team Agro_init from the University of Moratuwa came off as the champions. The team consisted of B.H.M. Imdaad, J.M.S.R. Chandrasiri, and Ajeeth Chandrasekaran who are all veterans when it comes to creating ideas with disruptive thinking, and have all participated in various hackathons in the past. All three have interests continuing their passion for creating innovative technologies and wish to build successful careers using their experience as a springboard for success. As for the School category, we have team Zahira Tech from Zahira College, Mawanella who emerged champions. All three members of the team; M.A. Abdullah, M.N. Raaidh, and M.R.M. Faheem are preparing for their A/L examinations the coming year 2022 and study in the stream of Engineering Technology. They all have interest in pursuing their education, leading into creating successful enterprises in their careers.
We shouldn’t forget the runners-up either, who all gave valuable effort into creating valuable, innovative technological solutions. Team Flash from Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT) who have a proven track record of providing exciting and innovative new technologies in previous hackathons which they have participated in, emerged first runner up in University category. Then there’s Pure Tech Group consisting of participants from the University of Jaffna and Eastern University of Sri Lanka who bagged the second runner up award in University category. The group is passionate about aquaculture, crop production, and livestock, even registering a fully functioning company Purest Group (Pvt) Ltd. As for the School category, there’s Team Agronomics, and team Mathura Arunthavam which won first and second runner up respectively. Each team consisted of members from various schools, with Agronomics consisting of students from schools in Colombo and Mathura Arunthavam from schools in Jaffna.
“We are currently holding discussions with Hatchworks to provide a mentorship of three months for our top three finalists from the University category,” shared Akeel Ahamed from EdScale Up. “It should be mentioned that a lot of teams from both school and university levels came up with great innovative ideas. The Spiralation tech start-up programme, an initiative from the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka, has invited three teams (two from University and one from School categories) to apply for the programme.” He went on to explain that this opportunity is available for all Agrithon participants and those who do will go through another pitching and development programme to make their idea a reality. Akeel also mentioned plans to connect Agri-thon participants with local entrepreneur organisations in order to give them the opportunity to develop their ideas into scalable enterprises as well.
A moment of thanks
President of the Rotaract Club of the University of Kelaniya Nipuna Rambukkanage spoke of how grateful he is for all the participants who dedicated almost six months of their time to take part in the Agri-thon, even amidst school and university examinations. “I’m really thankful to the project team as well,” Nipuna added. “They gave it their all throughout the sixmonth long project, even amidst a global pandemic and university examinations.”
A successful venture
Nipuna shared his excitement on behalf of what the future may have in store for all the participants of the Agri-thon, wishing them well. He is also excited about the success of Agri-thon, the first of what he hopes to be many more to come. “We’re happy to have created a positive impact with this, and are looking for ways to take Agri-thon forward,” Akeel shared, to which everyone agreed.