The Yarl Geek Challenge (YGC), an annual hackathon and highly anticipated event in the country’s tech and startup calendar, is about to go down in the Jaffna Peninsula for the fourth year running. According to Dhananjeyan Balaretnaraja of the Yarl IT Hub, the organisers of YGC, this year’s event will see the participation of about 25 teams from all parts of the country in the senior category alone.

What is the Yarl Geek Challenge?

Essentially, the YGC is an extended hackathon, held in Jaffna ever year. The objective of this event, says Dhananjeyan, is to encourage entrepreneurs to launch their businesses in creating new technology products and/or services that will address gaps in the market.

How is it different from any other hackathon?

This year’s YGC is set to take place in three stages. Firstly, there’s the launch in Jaffna (already held on September 12), where the organisers officially declare the competition open to the public. However, says  Dhananjeyan , it won’t be the 24-hour marathon that you’d expect. It’s 9 to 5. “It’ll be from 9am-5pm for three days, during which teams hack and present. Teams are eliminated based on each day’s performance, as decided by a panel of eminent judges. Some teams are given feedback to improve on and pitch the next day,” he explains.

“This is where the closing dates for the applications and any changes to the game format or any news relevant to YGC are announced.  As soon as it’s announced teams register and start working on their ideas. They are not expected to wait till the hackathon,” says  Dhananjeyan.

The second stage involves the actual hackathon that is scheduled to take place on three consecutive days – Junior Category in October, and Senior in November – in Jaffna.

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