A business born out of a 12-hour ‘hackathon’ has been awarded £100,000 to turn its pitch into a prototype.
SWAPP is a Community Interest Company designed to bridge the gap between the community and business.
Through a digital app, the company will allow users to bank good-will, such as providing a service or support and then allow them to exchange that credit for something that they need from a fellow user.
The concept was created during a Welsh ICE ‘hackathon’, where the SWAPP team of Francesca Irving, Alexis Charkiw, Adam Sadler and Claire Vokes had eleven hours to solve a problem and then sell it to a panel of judges.
The event was held in June by Wales’ largest start-up and co-working community Welsh ICE with Caerphilly County Borough Council.
The goal of the event was to find solutions to foundational economy challenges, and five teams of four were given 12 hours to research and identify a genuine problem or issue in the foundational economy in Wales, and then create a project, product or service that would solve it.
Following the final pitch in front of a panel of judges, SWAPP was named the winner and awarded £500 as well as support from the council to pitch the idea to the Welsh Government’s Foundational Economy Challenge Fund (FECF).
After the event, the team submitted a formal application to the FECF and a few weeks later were delighted to learn they had been awarded £100,000 to make the app a reality.
One of the founders of SWAPP, Francesca Irving, said: “We knew we had a good idea, but for other people to recognise its potential was really encouraging, so we spent several days and nights, working on the pitch and fleshing out what we had developed at ICE.”
She added : “We were delighted to find out we had been awarded the funds. It still feels a little surreal – if it wasn’t for the ‘hackathon’ event, the idea of SWAPP wouldn’t have existed, let alone receive £100k and be on its way to prototype.
“It’s been a whirlwind few months, but we are excited to develop what we hope will be a tool that allows communities and local businesses to thrive.”
The SWAPP team will use the funding to develop the software, conduct further market research and secure Intellectual Property rights.
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Sean Morgan, said: “It’s fantastic to see such innovation and entrepreneurial spirit here within the Caerphilly County Borough and I would like to congratulate all the successful schemes that took part in the event.
“I look forward to seeing the benefits of these award-winning ideas come to fruition in the future.”
Campus Director at Welsh ICE, Jamie McGowan added: “After the Caerphilly ‘hackathon’, we set the participants a challenge, to realise what they could accomplish in such a short space of time and go out and do it again.
“The ‘hackathon’ was already a huge success, but the news of this funding is the icing on the cake. It’s the very reason we worked with the Council to host it, so to see the team get the highest level of funding is a ringing endorsement of the quality of ideas we have here at ICE.”