KUWAIT: With the participation of more than 400 young and talented Kuwaiti contestants, Gulf Bank announced the winning teams of the second edition of the Datathon competition – the first platform of its kind in Kuwait, to empower data professionals, high school, and university students, as well as new employees interested in working in the fields of data and analytics.

The Datathon competition lasted for two days at Al-Shaheed Park, in cooperation with Coded Academy and INJAZ Kuwait, witnessing the participation of young individuals aged 14 to 18 years, for the first time. Participants over 18 years old also took part in the competition, which aimed to teach students how to use data analysis and visualization skills.

Gulf Bank offered three valuable prizes to the winning projects – where the Data Modeling category winners received a prize of KD 1,000, the best Data Visualization category winners received a prize of KD 500, and the best Digital Analytics category winners received a prize of KD 500 – which was specifically designated for individuals aged 14 to 18 years.

The competition’s tracks included Data Analysis with ChatGPT, Data Visualization, and Digital Analytics using an array of tools including: ChatGPT, Python, Tableau, R and other coding languages. The bank also awarded participants with trophies in the categories of Next Googler, Fancy Dataviz, and Neat Coder.

The Chief Data and Innovation Officer at Gulf Bank Mai Bader Al-Owaish expressed her happiness with the doubling number of participants, in comparison to first edition of the Datathon competition. She pointed out that not only did this year’s Datathon witness great diversity with age groups but has also witnessed the participation of several youths from across the GCC.

Al-Owaish indicated that the student members of the winning teams will have the opportunity to receive internships in the Data and Innovation Unit at Gulf Bank, which will allow them to apply what they have learned in the competition into a real-work environment. This is part of the bank’s efforts to prepare young individuals for the labor market.

She said: “The next decade will depend heavily on data analysis, which is why it’s our duty, at Gulf Bank, to work hard to build and spread the culture of data in society – especially with regards to qualifying and equipping young people for the future. This enables them to keep pace with the future requirements of universities and helps prepare them to join the labor market.”

Al-Owaish added: “The competition reflects Gulf Bank’s distinguished role in social responsibility and sustainability, as well as its continuous efforts to support the digital transformation process. This helps to achieve Kuwait Vision 2035 goals and consolidates the bank’s leading position in the field of data and digitization; by working to spread the data culture in society, with a major focus on youth. Hence, we were keen to add a new age group for young people aged 14 to 18 years old.”

For her part, the CEO of INJAZ Kuwait, Laila Al-Mutairi, said: “Empowering youth is one of the main objectives of the association, and for this reason, we are keen to equip them with the necessary skills to keep pace with the future. And based on this goal, we were eager to cooperate with Gulf Bank and Coded in this competition.”

She added: “The winning projects showcase high level talents and capabilities in Kuwait, as seen through the ideas and projects that were presented to the judges from the various age groups.” On this occasion, Ahmed Marafie, CEO of Coded Academy, said: “We are pleased to cooperate with Gulf Bank in this successful event, and we expect more success and an increase in the number of participants in the upcoming competitions.”

Throughout the Datathon competition, the judges assessed the submission of the participants, and evaluated them on whether they have completed the required tasks. The judges included several local experts from the industry, namely:

l Mai Bader Al-Owaish – Chief Data and Innovation Officer at Gulf Bank

l Dr Zainab Al-Meraj – Acting Chair of the Information Science Department at Kuwait University

l Hashem Behbehani – Head of the Health Informatics Unit at Dasman Diabetes Institute

l Laila H Al-Mutairi – CEO at INJAZ Kuwait

l Dr Ahmad Al-Baqsami – Assistant Professor of Computer Engineering at the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET)

Free workshops

The Datathon featured free educational workshops as a chance to learn hands-on skills with data science, visualizations and digital analytics tools and techniques. The workshops were held at Coded, with the participation of experts from Gulf Bank and the industry. They included Assistant Professor of Computer Engineering at the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, Dr Ahmad Al-Baqsami, Chief Data and Innovation Officer at Gulf Bank, Mai Bader Al-Owaish, and Data Scientist at Gulf Bank, Mariam Bazzi. The workshops included: Tableau, Modeling with Python, and Google Analytics.