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Teams solve everyday problems in 54 hours at Norwich’s Sync the City tech challenge

Teams competing to build a start-up in just 54 hours at Sync the City. Picture: Tim Stephenson Photography.

Teams competing to build a start-up in just 54 hours at Sync the City. Picture: Tim Stephenson Photography.

Tim Stephenson Photography.

Teams who were strangers to each other just two days ago are in the final stretch of their bid to form start-up in just 54 hours.

The ideas being worked up at technology challenge Sync the City range from an app for organising a pub crawl to how to protect people who work alone.

The teams of developers, students, designers and business people are competing for a £3,000 prize.

The annual event, at The Hostry at Norwich Cathedral, started on Thursday and ends today with a demonstration and final pitch.

Co-organiser John Fagan said: “The idea is to bring people together in Norwich. There is a lot of talent here, a lot of different companies, great universities and colleges, and the idea is to come together and stop talking and start doing. Take those ideas and all work together to make those dreams a reality.”

The event is organised by SyncNorwich and the University of East Anglia (UEA) and is bringing together students from both UEA, Norwich University of the Arts and College of West Anglia.

Teams are given a mentor from the local sector who have been there and done it with representatives from Rainbird Technologies, Foolproof, Aviva, TechMarionette and Epos Now.

Mr Fagan said he wanted to bring more people from diverse backgrounds into the event and this year a taxi driver successfully pitched his idea to the community.

Craig Dimbleby, of the Norwich Hackney Trade Association, said he had come to the event with no technical knowledge but hoped to solve a problem in his industry.

He said: “This is a totally different world to me.

“I believe cab drivers have to bring themselves into the 21st century, the industry has been going for nearly 500 years.

“There are 270 black cabs in Norwich but what we really are is 270 small businesses because we are very isolated.

“What I want to do is build a platform which enables customers to find nearby cabs to make their experience better and help us to work.”

Mr Dimbleby added he had been “incredibly” impressed by the drive and desire of the tech community in the city.

As well as the main competition the event involved a series of seminars from experts on the different stages of startups, from pitching through to accessing finance.


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