What happens when tech meets environmental concerns? The answer is a hackathon-inspired event devoted to tackling the challenges of sustainability and innovation in the industrial sector.

This Thursday and Friday (March 18-19), Sapir Academic College in Sderot and the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council’s SouthUp innovative initiative will be hosting ECO-thon, the goal of which is to bring representatives of industry, content experts, innovation fans, students and residents of southern Israel together to discuss creative ideas to solve local and global industry issues that will be presented by participating companies.

The idea behind ECO-thon is to help companies reduce their environmental impact, while also addressing the needs of the population of the western Negev, who lives under unique security-and-defense conditions. Some of the companies slated to take part include mattress manufacturer Poliron, Strauss, Beeri Print and Netivei Israel-National Transport Infrastructure Company. Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot and the AHAVA cosmetics company are sponsors.

Challenges include hot-water energy; weather forecasting and predicting floods; and communications in areas not hooked up to the grid.

Participating teams will have access to workshops that will help them develop models.

“The college, which is a major anchor in the Western Negev, is happy about the wonderful cooperation with all the entities involved, first and foremost the Kibbutz Industries Association and the SouthUp innovation incubator. We place great importance on encouraging people to find solutions to the sustainability challenges that affect us all,” said Sagit Paltin-Yifrach, director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Sapir.

Rafi Nevo, head of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Kibbutz Industries Association and CEO of the Mashtela startup fund, said the “main importance of the ECO-thon is to form connections and technological, scientific and business cooperation between the industries of the western Negev, which are mostly traditional; academia; the kibbutzim; and the local entrepreneur community. These connections allow for original thinking, implementation of innovation and products and technologies that will promote solutions of enormous importance to people and the environment, on a global scale.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.


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