Cooperathon arrives in KW for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs

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Cooperathon is the latest in the growing hacking trend to arrive in Kitchener-Waterloo. The recent interest in Hack the North, Hack 4 Health and Cooperathon prove the mounting interest in this agile, design thinking approach and collaborative problem-solving.

Here we explore the nuances of Cooperathon imagined and produced by Desjardins that runs September 28 until November 1.

Hackathons grow up

A hackathon is such a fun, collaborative experience that brings out our inner competitiveness. Through the experience, young entrepreneurs gain essential employment skills by working with mentors, speakers, community volunteers and other students. Hackathons are also growing up, realizing that solutions generated over a weekend hackathon will wither without further nourishment and cultivation.

Watch this 60-second video about #Cooperathon18

The Cooperathon has two separate programs over a 4-week period.

  1. For aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs
  2. For early-stage startups


The tracks launched by the Cooperathon feature four major societal challenges and many industries where breakthrough innovation is the future.

  • Finance
  • Health
  • Education
  • Energy & Environment


The agile sprint journey

Designed into five sprints, the popular Google Design Sprint inspired this contest. The program was adapted around work schedules with general activities on Saturdays and specialized workshops weekday evenings. This journey is at the heart of the Cooperathon experience where the most innovative projects and inspiring teams are built. The Cooperathon is a unique event for people and organizations who believe cooperation, innovation, and entrepreneurship can make a positive difference in the world.

Cooperathon five sprints

Understandably, more than 2,500 people are expected at the launch event and through the third enlarged year of the program.

Running real-data

In part what makes the Cooperathon so exciting is the ability of teams to run algorithms using real-life data sets. Desjardins offers an open data track with two challenges for AI using investments real data. Having access to actual market data is an enormous challenge for many startups, and so this represents substantial commercial value.

Kitchener Waterloo Cooperathon schedule

This is the first year that the Cooperathon comes to Ontario as well as to three cities in France.

The venue for these events in Kitchener Waterloo is split between Communitech and the Accelerator Centre. The two Design Thinking session are held at OCAD University in Toronto. Semi-finals take place in Toronto before the final in Montreal on November 1, where the winners will be announced. It is just $25 to register, and there are $100,000 in incredible prizes available.


The most successful teams through hackathon programs are those that make the most use of mentors.


Read our previous post on 10 tips to win a Hackathon.

Images courtesy of Desjardins