Student teams awarded with projects for JBC, DEME & District09/Athumi during the FTI Innovation Awards, powered by delaware

Mar 26, 2024

On Sunday March 24, the winners of the FTI and delaware hackathons were announced during the closing ceremony at the Lotto Arena. Three student teams were awarded for their projects for JBC, DEME, and District09/Athumi. In total, 18 business challenges were tackled by various student teams.

In collaboration with Flanders Technology & Innovation (FTI), delaware BeLux organized three hackathons in Antwerp, Ghent, and Hasselt. Companies could submit innovative projects, to which students proposed solutions. During this initiative, students formed cross-institutional teams to tackle real challenges from the business world, together with delaware and its clients. Leading up to FTI, students developed their solutions, and during the FTI festival week, they presented their projects at pitch arenas in various cities.

Op-nieuw & Op-nieuw +: a circular subscription model for children's clothing for JBC

A waste of $500 billion, with less than 1% of clothing being recycled and 30% of produced clothing remaining unsold. These are the growing issues of the clothing industry. Belgian family business JBC, committed to sustainability, aims to distance itself from these problems and actively looks for solutions. A team of three students from KU Leuven and Hasselt University addressed the question of whether a circular subscription model for children's clothing could be successful with JBC's customers.

For two weeks leading up to the pitch arena during FTI, the students conducted market research to assess the feasibility and attractiveness of a subscription formula for children's clothing. Based on this research, the findings were presented to JBC and translated into a customer journey with the help of delaware experts. The jury was enthusiastic about the result, particularly because sustainability goes hand in hand with economic viability in the proposal. It was also based on a strong, quantified analysis.

Smart predictions for DEME: optimizing internet connections at sea

International dredging and offshore company DEME has numerous vessels at sea, undertaking various projects. The company had submitted a request to predict the quality of the internet connection on its vessels.

Students from Erasmus Brussels University of Applied Sciences and Arts loaded data from DEME into an open-source generative AI model for time series analysis, enabling predictions for the next six days. Interestingly enough, the model did not need to be trained with data from the vessels. Later on, the company can still opt for this option to improve the accuracy of predictions. This solution allows DEME to better assess the quality of the internet connection at certain times, which will benefit the execution of their projects. Additionally, it is valuable for the personal contact of onboard employees with their families, as they are often at sea for extended periods of time.

District09 & Athumi: the healthiest neighborhood in Ghent

District09 and Athumi aim to create the healthiest neighborhood (“De gezondste wijk”) in Ghent: an environment where health plays a central role and where all residents are encouraged to actively participate in improving their lifestyle in a pleasant way.

Students from HOGENT and Howest University of Applied Sciences developed a prototype of a mobile application that will act as a hub for health, driven by Open Data from the City of Ghent, IMA, and the Flemish Government. This app helps residents of Ghent seek assistance for both psychological and physical health issues in an accessible manner, integrates data from various healthcare institutions, creates a forum for healthy lifestyle, and integrates with local facilities such as childcare. An important focus of this project is strengthening community ties and bringing people together.

Creating room for innovation

This initiative was supported by the DEL20: a business accelerator and innovation ecosystem launched by delaware several years ago. It provides participating companies with the space and expertise they need to experiment with new technologies such as AI, robotics, IoT, and the like – without having to worry about competition, budgets, or the risk of failure. JBC, DEME, and District09 & Athumi have the opportunity to join the next DEL20 cycle, allowing these projects to be further developed and professionalized.

"The goal of the DEL20 has always been to share insights and findings with the entire DEL20 community, creating valuable learning opportunities. It was inspiring to see the innovative ideas proposed by the students and how this could broaden our perspective on the projects," says Thierry Bruyneel, partner at delaware.

He adds, "FTI was the ideal partner for these hackathons: during the FTI festival, they brought together all of Flanders to learn about technology and innovation, once again showcasing that Flanders is among the world leaders in this field. FTI has greatly contributed to the confidence and positivity among entrepreneurs, highlighting the international impact Flanders has on the economy and society. A hackathon of this scale is only possible through collaborations and ecosystems, and FTI provided a framework where entrepreneurs, educational instituions, and government were brought together. We look forward to more initiatives like this!"

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