HackAccess-Dublin what is it all about

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Having just competed in Hackaccess Dublin, I can say with without a doubt that it was one of the best experiences of my life. It's not just an event or a competition, it is a movement in Ireland, one that is growing. It's about global accessibility, making the event as a whole far greater than its first appearance as a Dublin based competition.

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Right from the start, continuing straight through to the end of the event, all the organisers make you feel at ease and part of the team. As you arrive in the door you are greeted with a smile and a name tag, it is from there you then have the opportunity to mingle. This gives you the chance to get to know one another and scope out potential new team’s mates that are yet to be assigned into.


 
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Then things got real, as the event took off and we heard the stories form the hackaccess team, and why we were here everyone’s dynamic changed from fun to we need to do something and make a difference. I got placed into a team, and had a very fast 30 mins to come up with ideas to solve these real-world problems, this was made easier with the help of the organisers giving us all mentors at the ideation stage to help get the creativity flowing. Straight after this we pitched our ideas to everyone in a nice informal way. There were some great laughs throughout this evening. Once everyone pitched a few teams restructured and swapped team mates which was great fun.

 
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On to day two. Teams are set ready to work and we are greeted with the same amazing welcome and a much-appreciated breakfast. We are given free reign of the entire floor at the google complex and can use the space as we see fit. As our team finds the perfect little corner for us, we get straight to work and back to the drawing board to continue brain storming our ideas. Within minutes we are greeted by some of the most enthusiastic bringing the much need boost to all teams.

We quickly all clicked and got straight to it beginning our problem solving, researching acting out the issues and talking to everyone we could along with the mentors help we soon zoned in on a possible solution. It was not long before evening landed and we had met loads of mentors and had great feedback. With lots of food and drinks supplied we kept working until the last minute of day two. As we headed back to the accommodation that evening there was a real sense of accomplishment within the group.

 
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On to the final day, it’s time to start working on the pitch. Again, the team at hackaccess did not disappoint. They brought in one of the best coaches in the country to guide us on how to present. She gave all the pitchers feedback on how they done on a practice run. With that all the pressure and fear of the main pitch was gone letting everyone relax and work comfortably on their final presentations. Before it came to present we, all had one final pitch from the hackaccess team to put our minds at ease. Then it was pitch time, each team went up pitched their ideas and all got great feedback from the crowd and judges alike.

 
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I had the privilege of pitching for my team and thanks to all the positive feedback from mentors and hackaccess team it went without a hitch and I felt a sense of confidence on the stage.

As the pitches wrapped up the judges left to deliberated and everyone waited and chatted in anticipation. Until the moment arrived when the announcement was made. Right up to the end I never thought about this, to me it was all about making a difference and helping make a change to people’s life’s. So, it was a massive surprise for me to hear my team announced as the winners of hackaccess2017.

 
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I was in shock for days after. I hope all teams continue their work as each team had a beautiful and simple idea to solve real world problems. To cap the night off the team at hackaccess brought us all out for a rap party to a local bar where we continued to make great connections and tell stories of our experience. I hope to meet all at hackaccess again. But for now, the real fun begins making my teams solution a reality.

 
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StoryJanice Valentine