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Why spend days to solve a problem and create a new idea in a hackathon – and just leave it there?

But what happens after a hackathon? What happens to all of the ideas created in one?

Published : 14.01.2020

In recent years, hackathons have been a hot topic in business, technology and education alike. Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences alone organized several hackathons last autumn and last year, and the perks of using hackathons as a tool for entrepreneurship education were recognized (Khan 2019).

But what happens after a hackathon? What happens to all of the ideas created in one? These questions were also raised in the field of software engineering by Uiga (2019), who claims that The majority (60 %) of the projects were left inactive from day one after finishing the event. He adds that less than 10 % of the projects and ideas are active two months after a hackathon (Uiga 2019). So, what can we do?

NOCCA – Novel Opportunities for new Company Creation and Accelerated growth – project wants to tackle this challenge and offers one possible solution for keeping potential ideas, created in a hackathon, alive and kicking. Between 2019-2021, NOCCA pilots and implements a three-step path, the so-called innovation curriculum, that consists of innovation hackathons, scalability and growth workshops and acceleration and idea boot camps. To cut a long story short, the idea is to organize two more events after a hackathon, a workshop and a boot camp, to offer help and support for the hackathon winners and the top-ranked ideas.

What is a Scalability and growth workshop?

So far, the NOCCA project has hosted two workshops and Haaga-Helia has hosted one. This four-day workshop gathered hackathon high-flyers from Finland, Estonia and Latvia together, only a few weeks after the hackathons. The workshop lasted longer than the intensive hackathons and the students had the time to dig deeper into creating a startup and scaling and growing a business. The lectures held by the Haaga-Helia and StartUp School lecturers and external guest speakers covered topics from financing to entrepreneurial mindset. Great importance was also given to group work and workshop itself. The students got to pitch their ideas and comment on others and start working on the visual identity, website, financial calculations, web shop and internationalization plan for their business. Basically, the workshop provided time to develop the ideas further, access to international contacts and mentoring from the professionals of the business field.

How about an Acceleration and idea boot camp?

The three-step process has only reached the second landmark, but the boot camp is already looming at the end of January 2020. All the students who took part in the workshop and have the motivation to continue in the project have been invited to participate in the boot camp in Tallinn and the sTARTUp Day in Tartu. The plan is to take one more step further, since the teams have already gained knowledge of how to create and develop a startup. The three-day boot camp training includes customer validation, investor readiness and media training, among other topics. After that, the teams get a chance to pitch their ideas for potential investors and clients and an access to startup network via matchmaking.

In two years, NOCCA hopes to create a functional innovation curriculum – a unified idea and business development path – to make hackathon projects success stories.


Khan, R. 2019. Hackathons As A Tool For Entrepreneurship Education. Accessed 13.12.2019. 

Uiga, K-M./K.-M. 2019. What happens to all these hackathon projects? Master’s Thesis. University of Tartu. Accessed 13.12.2019.