Empowering the Future: Highlights from the Latvia Code Week Hackathon 2023

Publication date: October 21, 2023

The Latvia Code Week Hackathon 2023, held under the theme “Empowering STEM: Bridging the Gap in Education and Career Readiness,” recently concluded with resounding success. The event, organised by the Latvian Ministry of Economy, aimed to address the imminent shortage of skilled professionals in IT, engineering, and natural sciences. With a potential deficit of nine thousand STEM specialists by 2030, the hackathon set out to inspire and empower high school students to embrace STEM subjects and pursue STEM careers. Here are some key highlights from the event. 

One of the most pressing challenges in Latvia is the declining interest and success in STEM subjects among high school students. The hackathon sought to tackle this issue by encouraging young talents between the ages of 15 and 19 to develop innovative solutions that make STEM education more engaging and accessible. By addressing the root causes behind Latvian students’ reluctance to pursue STEM careers, the hackathon aimed to bridge the gap in STEM education. 

The Winning Teams 

After intense competition, three standout teams emerged as the winners of the Latvia Code Week Hackathon 2023: 

  1. Exacto: Taking the top spot, team Exacto secured the 1st prize of 1200 EUR. Their innovative solution promises to revolutionise STEM education and make it more accessible to high school students. 
  1. Zantix: Team Zantix claimed the 2nd prize of 600 EUR with their impressive project, which aims to bridge the gap between STEM learners and educators through a user-friendly platform. 
  1. MVDELF: The 3rd prize of 200 EUR went to team MVDELF, who demonstrated exceptional creativity and dedication in their efforts to enhance STEM interest among high school students. 

A pathway to the European final 

The national winning team, Exacto, will have the honour of representing Latvia in the European final. This online competition will bring together top teams from the other countries  all hosting their own Code Week Hackathons in 2023. 

Empowering future innovators 

The hackathon attracted enthusiastic participants from various backgrounds, including science, computer science, design, engineering, ICT, and related fields. Teams were encouraged to consist of 5-6 members, and special emphasis was placed on fostering gender balance to involve more girls in the event. The hackathon also encouraged a mix of technical and functional skills, allowing teams to bring diverse perspectives to the table. 

The hackathon encouraged participants to explore a wide range of ideas to address the challenges in STEM education. Some of the proposed solutions included mobile apps for STEM learning and web-based collaboration platforms. Teachers contributed by creating short educational video tutorials, explaining complex STEM concepts in a way that’s easy for students to understand. 

The overarching theme of the 2023 hackathons, “Code to problem-solve and give life to your dreams,” not only inspired innovation but also encouraged participants to envision a brighter future. By tackling challenges in education, tourism, transportation, and other sectors, the hackathon instilled a sense of purpose and ambition in the participants.