The Chicago Connectory hosted the Lycée Français (The French International School) Hackathon from Thursday, March 22 through Saturday, March 24. The event served as the French-American finale of Start’up Lycée 2018, an event where students from different schools developed business models and pitches before presenting to local judges.
Nine teams participated in the event, including top teams from French schools in Dijon and Auriol (Marseille), as well as U.S. schools in New York and San Francisco, California.
The Lycée Français de Chicago hosted an internal Start’up Lycée competition in January, where teams developed innovative and sustainable projects in an entrepreneurial approach to achieve United Nation sustainable development goals.
In the end, San Francisco team Life in Lux took home the $1,000 prize for their pitch to create a necklace that screens for illegal substances in beverages.
Other notable pitches included a device that tackles truck driver fatigue to avoid highway fatalities, an app to display healthy options from local restaurants, and mosquito-repellent baby wrap to combat malaria, among others.
After the event, Lycée Français de Chicago President Eric Veteau praised the students for their representation of the Chicago school.
“You were the most amazing ambassadors of our Lycée by showing all your qualities and your openness,” Eric Veteau said. “I particularly appreciated your sense of respect in the competition. You were perfect hosts, and I congratulate you.”
Lycée Français de Chicago Innovation Project Manager Sofian Bettayeb says that the children will have a lasting impact beyond the results on this competition, serving as the foundation for the future.
“The students involved in this hackathon can play a major role in the future of innovation, and we want to stimulate that line of thought,” Sofian said. “For us, it was obvious that kids can bring change by coming together and addressing big global issues through innovative solutions, such as the ones from this event.”
Robert Wildeman, Chicago Connectory Lead University Partnerships and Development, says that it was great to introduce students from all over the world to the opportunities that the Connectory provides.
"The Connectory and Bosch were happy to welcome the Start’up Lycée startup finals,” Robert Wildeman said. “It was great to see the different types of ideas and energy that came out of the eight teams, including students from Bergundy, France and Paris, among other cities. We were also happy to welcome the local judges, including former CEO of 1871 Howard Tullman.”
Sofian Bettayeb welcomed the way the Connectory provided the perfect environment to foster innovation, especially for the high school students involved as they begin shaping their future careers. “The Connectory is an incredible setting to hold this type of event,” Sofian said. “The resources provided here are tremendous, everyone is accessible, and it serves as a true IoT ecosystem to stimulate ideation, in addition to being a beautiful environment.”