Briefing: What Happens After GiveBackHack Ends?

Dave Ghose
Higher Ground Agriculture's Wade Broadwater

At the end of April, about 120 people will gather at the Columbus College of Art & Design for an entrepreneurial cram session with a social conscious. Now in its fourth year, GiveBackHack—a three-day event similar in format to Startup Weekend—aims to develop social enterprises that provide innovative solutions to social problems.

In the past, ideas have ranged from a sustainable and socially conscious fashion company to an Uber for moving services that targets low-income populations. “The mission of GiveBackHack is to be a launch pad for social enterprises,” says Derek DeHart, a product owner at CoverMyMeds who's helping organize this year's event.

Indeed, GiveBackHack has birthed several ideas that have continued to take flight after the final pitch session ended. Here are three.


Founders: Brook Kohn, Nathali Bertran, Nicholas Tietz-Sokolsky, Derek DeHart, Jean-Yves Kasonga Beya

The Pitch: Inspired by his girlfriend, Nathali Bertran, a beneficiary of President Obama's DACA executive order, Brook Kohn wanted to create a “TurboTax for Dreamers” to help them navigate the complicated

application process.

Afterward: DACA Time attracted attention from CNN and other media outlets, while also receiving $5,000 in funding from the United Way and $40,000 from the SEA Change Accelerator, an entrepreneurial program for socially minded startups. Even though Donald Trump's decision to rescind DACA in September threw the business in the lurch, its founders are still moving forward with product development and advocating on behalf of Dreamers.

Higher Ground Agriculture

Founders: Greg Shak, Wade Broadwater, Blake Moffett, Stephen Harrold

The Pitch: Aquaponics—a closed system of agriculture that uses farmed fish to supply nutrients for plants grown hydroponically—could provide fresh fruit and vegetables for urban “food deserts.”

Afterward: Shak left his job as a patent attorney to focus full-time on Higher Ground Agriculture. The business now has a greenhouse in the Grove City area and has started a pilot program with the Saint Stephens Community House in Linden.

Ears On

Founders: Susan and Eden Bradley

The Pitch: The mother-and-daughter team—inspired by the experiences of 12-year-old Eden—proposed a nonprofit that collects donated hearing aids and distributes them to children whose families can't afford to purchase the expensive devices.

Afterward: Susan, a quality and risk analyst withCoverMyMeds, and her daughter participated in the SEA Change Accelerator and are working on forming a partnership with Columbus Speech & Hearing Center.