September 26 – 29 2017

Michael Crouch Innovation Centre


How might we use social enterprise business models to expand access to clean water among rural communities in developing countries?

Access to clean drinking water is a true necessity for everyone, but too many people in the developing world are forced to drink unsafe groundwater, leading to serious health problems.

Researchers here at UNSW have developed a game changer; portable technology that can clean groundwater and make it safe for use.

The challenge now is to develop a sustainable business model. That’s where you come in.

Together we can develop new sustainable social enterprises and engineering solutions that create income for the poor and deliver essential products and services which will eradicate many easily preventable diseases.


Four epic days

Over four days, we’re going to work together on a solution for a real world problem. You’ll be mentored by experts, learn new techniques, collaborate with other students and pitch your ideas!

Meet new people!

The solve access to clean drinking water, you’ll need to collaborate with people with different skills and backgrounds. The hack is a great opportunity to meet and make new connections with students from other faculties!

Free food and drink!

We’ll keep you fueled with meals and plenty of snacks throughout the hack to keep you firing on all cylinders!


In addition to knowing you’ve helped people get access to clean drinking water, the winning team will also receive a $5,000 cash prize!

Frequently Asked Questions
What is a hack?

First up, it’s nothing scary or illegal! Some hacks (including this one) don’t even involve computer programming. A hack is an event, usually occurring over a few days, that encourages people to collaborate in an intensive way to help solve a problem.

What makes a hack so rewarding is the intensity of the experience- you’ll form fast friends and come up with solutions quickly- and the fact that you get to see the outcomes of all that collaborating really quickly. The magic happens when people from all different backgrounds come together and spark ideas in one another that alone, they would never have thought of.

Why run a hack?

Hacks are a great way to get the ball rolling on solving a whole range of real world issues. They also help you build collaboration skills that are going to be a real asset once you’ve left university.

The reason we’re running this hack is that UNSW researchers have developed new technology that places the possibility of clean drinking water within reach of many people who’ve had to go without. Now they need your help to put that technology into action.

What skills and experience do I need to join this hack?

We’d love to see students from all faculties participating! Whether you’re a student from the Business School, Arts and Social Sciences, Medicine, Law or Engineering (or anything else we’ve missed!) your skills and perspectives will be vital and put to good use. There is no prerequisite knowledge needed- we’ll teach you the techniques and methods to produce a business model.

How are teams formed?

Teams will need to have 4-7 members with no more than 3 members in a single discipline. On the first day we’ll hold a team-formation pitch during which already-formed groups and solo hackers can pitch their ideas and join together as teams.

What does success look like in this hack?

This is a real world problem, so we’re after a viable, sustainable social enterprise business model which solves the logistical and engineering challenges of supplying the water filtration technology for use in the developing wold. At the end of the four days you’ll pitch your idea to a panel of experts.

What happens after the hack?

The winners of the hack will be invited to stay on board this project. We hope to implement the solution as a prototype in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Gujarat, India.

Do I need to stay at MCIC the entire time?

We know that you have other obligations and four full days is a big commitment, however at least half of your team needs to be present at all times. The only exemption is on the second day. If your team already has an idea, then you are welcome to skip the Optional Ideation session.


If you have any questions about the hack, please contact us directly. We will respond for sure.

back to top