We are pleased to announce the winners of the “HACK Agrifood Challenge Lab’23” hackathon!
The Agromaster Sector Challenges Laboratory organized by EIT Food concluded with three winning teams instead of just one this year. On October 17-18, the “HACK AgriFood Challenges Lab’23” took place, where students and other registered innovators tackled the most pressing challenges in the agricultural sector today. Nearly 70 participants not only proposed solutions for a more sustainable future for the planet but also strengthened their theoretical interdisciplinary competencies, honed practical skills, and collaborated with experienced mentors from various fields. The culmination of the event was the last-minute decision by the judges to award additional cash prizes.
For the fifth year, “AgriFood Lithuania” has been initiating various hackathons and idea workshops. The cluster and digital innovation centre were the first in the Baltic countries to organize such a hackathon in the agricultural sector. The director of the organization, Kristina Šermukšnytė-Alešiūnienė, is happy to observe the growing quality of the event every year, which this year was reflected by the extremely high level of activity: both of the participants and of the teachers of Vilniaus Kolegija / Higher Education Institution., the main partners who expressed their desire to become team leaders.
“We live in a golden age of start-ups, but we want as many ambitious start-ups as possible to succeed. Hackathons like this are a great school, because they help to lay the right foundations early on. Most importantly, it can spark future professionals to pursue relevant careers in the long term: in science, business, the development of a wide spectrum of innovations,” said the expert in the agricultural sector.
The team “7-Up” won the main prize of 2000 Euros in the Challenges Laboratory. Its members were Greta Česnavičiūtė (ATF, Agro-Industrial Technologies, AT22S), Ignas Valiukas (EIF, Software Systems, PI21B), Ramunė Klumbytė-Abromaitienė (SPF, Occupational Therapy, ER21), Silvija Beatričė Veličkaitė (SPF, Dietetics, DT22), Gabrielė Matuzaitė SPF, (Hygienic and Decorative Cosmetology, HK23), Emilija Derškaitė (SPF, Hygienic and Decorative Cosmetology, HK23). They chose to tackle the challenge of using by-products sustainably and proposed an idea for a product made from coffee grounds and eggshells to combat invasive snails.
According to the decision of the commission, incentive prizes were awarded to two more teams. The team “Minions” received 1000 Euros. Linas Narmontas (ATF, Agro-Industrial Technologies, AT23), Justė Ivanavičiūtė (MTF, Fashion Technology and Business, MI23), Dominyka Jurkevičiūtė (PF, Dietetics, DT23), Andrius Mikalauskas (SPF, Dietetics, DT23), and Gintarė Bendikaitė (EIF, Software Systems, PI23E) chose to address the challenge of tracing carbon footprint in the food chain and solved it by using mushrooms to recycle hard-to-digest waste.
The team “Fantastic Six” was awarded 500 Euros. Bitė Kotryna Sakalauskaitė (ATF, Agro-Industrial Technologies, AT23), Nazar Bondarenko (EIF, Software Systems, PI23E), Darja Safonova (SPF, Dietetics, DT23), Kamilė Rybelytė (SPF, Hygienic and Decorative Cosmetology, HK22), Matas Šimėnas (VVF, Public Relations, PR21), and Vilius Augustaitis (ATF, Agro-Industrial Technologies, AT23) overcame the challenge of using by-products by creating a prototype idea for using tomato pulp as animal feed.
They shared their impressions, which were unanimously expressed by the 1st place winners – the team “7-Up”.
What motivated you to participate in the hackathon and how did the idea for the proposed solution come about?
We were encouraged to participate by our teachers, but the main driving force was curiosity. We decided to create a solution how to use coffee grounds and eggshells to combat invasive snails based on a unanimous team decision, and after filtering through numerous ideas, we chose what we believed was the best one.
What was the most challenging aspect?
The lack of time, as we wanted to create a very good project in a relatively short amount of time. Also, organizing the data, analyzing various sources, and selecting the most relevant information.
What left the biggest impression?
The fact that, despite being different personalities, we united our knowledge and curiosity. We also enjoyed the overall atmosphere of the event, the support from mentors and leaders, and the positive vibes from ideas of other teams. By the way, all colleagues worked very amicably, not as competitors.
What advice would you give to people who are hesitant about participating? Do you recommend participating for others?
It’s definitely worth it because you won’t lose anything, but you’ll gain a lot of new knowledge and experience. Personally, while working on the project, we had a lot of fun, so even losing wouldn’t have been disheartening. We’re also pleased to have strengthened our teamwork skills and established connections with new people. As for recommending it to others, the most important thing is not to be afraid and always take advantage of the opportunity when it comes!