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#Z4Good Ideathon – Winners Announcement

By Melissa Sassi posted Tue January 19, 2021 01:56 PM


The IBM Z4Good team wanted to take a moment to recognize the 100+ student submissions received for the Z4Good Ideathon from scores of countries across the planet. A big thank you goes out to the participating students helping to make the Z4Good Ideathon a success!


Prizes include one year of mentorship for all winning teams. 1st place winners receive an incubation workshop to help bring their ideas to life, and 2nd and 3rd place winners receive a design thinking workshop…all led by IBM volunteers.

We are pleased to announce the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each category:

  1. Access to Digital Skills Education,
  2. Gender Inclusion, and
  3. Racial Equality.

Many hours of judging and evaluation went into this selection. IBM is proud to collaborate further with each one of these winners through the Ideathon incubation sessions, design thinking workshops, and one-year of mentorship.

Don’t forget to click the links to watch their inspiring videos!

And the Winners Are…

Access to Digital Skills Education 

1st Place Co-Winner: Nitya Ayyagari

  • Problem Statement: Most schools in the US don’t bother with financial education. It has been reported that 2 in 3 parents are reluctant to talk about finances with their kids and 1 in 5 kids in America lack basic financial skills.
  • Home Country: United States 
  • Solution: The kid friendly app, Doughkeeper, seeks to help all kids understand the value of money and leverages AI, expense restrictions, and competition to bring it to life.
  • Fun Fact: A bill in Maine to establish financial education for middle school and high school students is currently under review and the department of education is looking for tools to implement into the curriculum. 

1st Place Co-Winner: Rayan Garg

  • Problem Statement: 100,000 small businesses have closed which accounts for half of our workforce. Over 40% of small businesses don’t have websites. 
  • Home Country: United States 
  • Solution: Project Falcon is a solution that provides a free website and e-commerce platform created by students who have been through the Project Falcon web design course. 
  • Fun Fact: the group has already helped dozens of small businesses save over $100,000, and educated 100+ students. Profiled by NASDAQ, CBS. ABC, Yahoo News, and CNBC.

2nd place Winner: Jeffrey Asiedu-Brako

  • Problem Statement: Huge lack of digital skills education in Ghana is holding youth back from preparing for the future of work.
  • Home Country: Ghana
  • Solution: Introduce education into junior high school that includes coding and other digital skills.
  • Fun fact: Jeffrey is going to organize Tech Talks in Ghana during the COVID-19 pandemic and share digital skills education content with youth across Ghana.

3rd Place Winner: Ian Chen

  • Problem Statement: As the computer science field has grown and technology becomes more integrated into our day-to-day life, learning to code has become easier and easier. There are countless online resources, and some middle school and high school students have access to computer science education in formal education; however, there’s still a significant stigma around its difficulty or youth questioning if it’s for them. The hardest part of programming is getting started.
  • Home Country: United States
  • Solution: Code Quest is a fun and easy way to introduce youth to programming to present coding as a fun and exciting superpower. The first half of the game involves learn to code without realizing the player is learning the introductory building blocks of computer science. The second half unlocks the power to coding and see what it is with an aim of getting more youth involved in computer science.
  • Fun Fact: Ian wants to survey groups to find out their perception of programming and any obstacles stopping them from pursuing it!

 Gender Inclusion

1st Place Winner: Muskan Fatima

  • Problem Statement: We need to empower more women in my country – Pakistan – to learn technical skills and land tech jobs. We need more opportunities to acknowledge women and girls in tech in Pakistan.
  • Home Country: Pakistan
  • Solution: Talking Tech with Muskan Podcast - invite women in Pakistan to meet, network, discuss the challenges and triumphs of their work, lift each other up, and inspire all women across Pakistan to learn tech skills and stay in the field of technology.
  • Fun fact: Muskan’s goal is to empower young girls around the world identify female role models in technology and follow their dreams!

2nd Place Winner: Merve Rida Bayraktar

  • Problem Statement: Educational and STEM games are often targeted towards boys.
  • Home Country: United States
  • Solution: Game Jam for developers, coders, and students to create games for girls that are educational and inspirational.
  • Fun Fact: Sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill and founder of Pink Stream which educates and empowers 8th grade girls in STREAM fields!

3rd Place Winner: David Chikezie Omereonye

  • Problem Statement: Girls in Nigeria are often not interested in digital skills due to societal and peer pressure; I want to change this. 
  • Home Country: Nigeria
  • Solution: Organize awareness and skill-building campaigns and workshops, at the grassroot level, to inspire women and girls to learn digital skills.
  • Fun fact: Undergraduate at the Federal University of Technology in Nigeria! 

Racial Equality 

1st Place Winner: Alexandra Verb

  • Problem Statement: There is a crisis of widespread inequality in the American prison system which exponentially impacts African Americans. African Americans in the prison system face digital skills barriers and access to mental health support.
  • Home Country: United States
  • Solution: Create a platform that combines digital skill building with coding lessons and computerized therapy games. 
  • Fun Fact: Alexandra is a student at Northwestern University! 

2nd Place Winner: Brenda Campuzano

  • Problem Statement: In a digitally transforming world, many women and girls, especially in the LatinX community, lack the necessary skills to adapt to new changes.
  • Home Country: United States
  • Solution: Virtual Workshops - lessons would be centered around important digital skills to boost independence. Workshop would be free and offered in Spanish and English. 
  • Fun Fact: With optimism and purpose, anything is possible! 

3rd Place Winner: Liu Zhou

  • Problem Statement: Lots of people around the globe are suffering from gender inequality issues. People don’t share the same history and empathize with others. 
  • Home Country: China
  • Solution: If I Were You Game - You can play a role as yourself or other races or ethnicities. Players will have immersive experience to raise awareness as to why people make certain decisions in life. 
  • Fun fact: Liu would like to see more empathy for others and unite us all!
And the winner of the Goodwall Video Challenge of $1,000 to go toward education expenses is Patrick Obumselu from Nigeria!

Thanks for following along with the Z4Good Ideathon – watch out for their progress throughout 2021 and beyond.

Your Z4Good Organizers,

Melissa Sassi
Chief Penguin, IBM Z
Student & Entrepreneur Experience

Gilda Doria
CSR Leader, IBM

1 comment


Tue March 23, 2021 03:05 PM

Awesome blog!! :)