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USC Marshall and UCLA Anderson Unite to Find Coronavirus Solutions


#HackForHope brings together teams from traditional cross-town rivals

#HackForHope formally kicked off on April 8, but teams can continue to hack until the deadline.

Read more at uschackforhope.com and join a team before April 18!

As the scope of the coronavirus pandemic expanded in March and April, faculty and staff at UCLA Anderson School of Management saw the crisis as both a problem and an opportunity. Their counterparts at USC Marshall School of Business, some of whom had ties to Anderson, were thinking the same way.

“As entrepreneurs, we are always looking for problems to solve, and as educators, we want to help our students do the same,” said Anderson alumna Elissa Grossman (’96, Ph.D. ’05), director of USC’s Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Orfalea Director’s Chair in Entrepreneurship and professor of clinical entrepreneurship at USC Marshall. “We thought an online hackathon — we call it Hack for Hope — might allow our students to feel more connected to each other and to the possibility of making an immediate, meaningful and positive contribution to our communities.”

When an early USC tweet in support of Hack for Hope inspired an enthusiastic response tweet by UCLA Anderson School of Management, Grossman decided to ask if the schools could partner. A “yes” came swiftly. It was time for the traditional rivals to work together.

“This crisis presents an opportunity to bring together resources from both universities for the benefit of our communities,” said Elaine Hagan (’91), associate dean of entrepreneurial initiatives at UCLA Anderson School of Management and executive director of the school’s Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. “We are stronger together, and we expect that these projects will reflect all that is good about Los Angeles.”

Hack for Hope is a call for entrepreneurs, creators, web developers, mentors and volunteers across the region to come together (for the duration, virtually) to identify problems arising from the crisis and create solutions. The only requirement is that at least one team member has to be a UCLA or USC student, alumnus, staff member or faculty member.

The event invites teams to solve problems caused by the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. There are two tracks: Hack for Now, in which participants try to develop prototypes ready for rapid deployment or production, and Hack for the Future, where participants try to anticipate opportunities likely to emerge in the post-COVID-19 world. Themes include health and wellness, online education, communication and connections, vulnerable populations, entertainment, and small and larger businesses.

By the deadline of April 18, 2020, each team is asked to submit a two-minute video describing the problem and their solution. Judges will award up to $25,000 in prize money to the most promising projects — specifically to fund prototype development, proof of concept work or community outreach directed at students or workers in need of extra support at this time.

Judges and mentors will be announced shortly. Partners include Twitter, Product Managers Association of LA (PMA.LA), the UCLA Biodesign Program, Artificial Intelligence Los Angeles (AILA) and theapollo.media.

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