Jeremy Hobbs British Ambassador to Paraguay

Jeremy Hobbs

Former British Ambassador to Paraguay

Part of UK in Paraguay

16th March 2016 Asuncion, Paraguay

Paraguay Hackathon discovers young talent

I recently attended my first Hakathon in Asuncion. It was an enjoyable and fascinating experience.  The event was organised by the Embassy in association with a local NGO, the Centro de Estudios Ambientales y Sociales (CEAMSO).

The competition brought together some 40 young people divided into 14 teams. They were tasked with finding innovative solutions to various problems in the agricultural sector.  One challenge was how to make best use of water resources: another, how to track crops and diseases using satellite technologies and other applications. The teams had 48 hours to come up with sustainable solutions to the problems they chose to address.


It was an amazing experience to see so many young people (double the number we expected) working together to resolve problems of direct relevance to Paraguay, and in a sector that is a key driver of economic growth.  Copious amounts of coffee, soft  drinks and pizza (healthier grub was also on offer) helped sustain energy levels throughout.  At the end, teams were given seven minutes to present their findings, with three more for questions from the judges.  The tight time limit certainly tested their presentational skills.

The winner of the Hackathon was a group called ‘Agrofly’, made up of three young professionals.  Their proposal to use drones to increase agricultural productivity – they even brought along a prototype – won the unanimous approval of the judges. Their prize: a week long, all expenses paid trip to the UK to include training from a British company on the use of satellite technology in agriculture and advice from ‘Schools for Startups’ on how to start a business.

The winning team Agrofly
The winning team Agrofly

Participant feedback was all very positive, particularly on the tailored (online) coaching from UK and Colombian experts during the event.

Our first Hackathon has shown that Paraguay, despite its relative isolation and small population, is a country with plenty of young talent. As an Embassy we will continue to work with local partners to nurture that talent.