December 17, 2014. President Obama and Cuban President Castro released joint statements, announcing out-of-the-blue joint statements about the “opening up” of Cuba.
Huge news. And now, come flood of articles and think-pieces on what this means for US industries. In our case, we’ve been especially following what this could mean for tech, hackers, new innovation, a whole new world! But first, there is a BIG technological hurdle that needs to be crossed. One that, if you’ve been following the Cuba news at all, shouldn’t be new news to you.
According to this Time article, only 1 in 10 Cubans use a mobile phone. Only 1 in 20 have unrestricted access to the internet (think about that! In the US, even our toddlers are playing with iPhones). Now, it’s not wonder that all the big telecommunications companies are eyeing Cuba heavily. New ground to cover! When was the last time that happened?
As you (hopefully!) know, AngelHack is the world’s largest and most diverse hacker community. We’re a global company, and we’ve been following these advancements and thinking about how we can bring a hackathon to Cuba, in the interest of Cuba.
Our own CEO and Founder, Sabeen Ali was asked “How can AngelHack help tech innovation in Cuba?” Ali said, “ultimately, what we want to do for Cuba is learn more about them. Who they are. What they do. What they want. What their goals are. And we want to educate them on who we are, what a hackathon is, and its benefits.”
They’re a community that embraces their culture, and the onslaught of technology waiting outside their doors might not be embraced. That’s where a survey of the community comes in, work with the stakeholders (government, school systems, etc) and a 'Change Management' approach.
Hopefully soon, we will be including Cuba in one of our Global Hackathon Series.
Before that happens, comes Code For Cuba, and we’re honored Sabeen will be judging this awesome event taking place at the Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park on April 25th and 26th.
The event is being hosted by Roots of Hope, a nongovernmental organization focused on empowering youth in Cuba through technology and entrepreneurship. And judges are coming in from, of course AngelHack, as well as Facebook, Google Ideas, Stanford, Manos, Yahoo, Salesforce, 14ymedio.com, and the Latino Startup Alliance.
The focus: entrepreneur support, connectivity & access, and digital journalism.
We can’t wait to see what comes from Code For Cuba, and are truly honored and excited to take part!