Atlanta Will Host the Largest-Ever HBCU Hackathon

clark atlanta hackathon

To welcome its incoming freshman class and inspire them throughout their education, Clark Atlanta University (CAU) will host one of the largest hackathons ever held in Atlanta. The hackathon will also be the largest-ever held at an HBCU school (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).

CAU’s “Hack the Panther Express” will be a 6-hour technical marathon for 800-1000 students to form teams and collaboratively code a unique solution. It is part of CAU’s Freshman Program experience, and is intended to demonstrate the focus CAU places on entrepreneurship and innovation. Students will have a choice to “hack” challenges such as creating a business, finding ways to increase retention and registration rate of African American males, and career placement tools and programs for outgoing college seniors.

CAU students also have the option to create their own challenge to hack, with topics ranging anywhere from higher education to social justice. And the prizes are tempting — the first place team members will all take home drones and robots, along with $250.

To accomplish this large of an event, CAU has partnered with HackOut.Ninja, an Atlanta-based startup that assists its partners with all the logistics, technical details, and partnerships required for the complicated process of putting on a hackathon.

“We wanted to work with CAU because they were ready. They were ready to take the necessary steps to bring something new to the students and get them involved in a big and impactful way. They wanted to send a powerful message about their community’s focus on innovation, and what better way to show it than to put on an event where everyone in the community can be a part of it,” says Jerica Richardson, co-founder of HackOut.Ninja.

Richardson says that a hackathon can be the first step to a lifetime of entrepreneurship.

“From our experiences with first-timers, our presence achieves plenty. Some students have remarked how they never thought they could create a real company, or had never seen tools to help them develop something,” says Richardson.

“We know that by creating a collaborative and supportive environment, given the presence of the city’s most promising startups, members of the educational community, and volunteers who are inspirational themselves, the students will walk away feeling empowered, knowledgeable, and confident of their chance to succeed in the world,” says Richardson.

CAU and Hackout.Ninja also have pulled in a host of organizations from across the community, partnering with business leaders, city officials, and educational institutions including the City of Atlanta, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, General Assembly, Women in Technology, and more. CAU is still seeking partners to make the hackathon a regular, recurring event.

“This event will be a true testament to Atlanta’s diversity and the city’s position as a leader in innovation,” says Richardson.

Hack the Panther Express will take place on Thursday, August 10th from 4-10pm at CAU’s Student Center. To volunteer as a judge, mentor, or subject-matter expert, click here. To apply to be a startup exhibitor, click here.