'Hack the Future' event held at the Choctaw Indian Reservation

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CHOCTAW, Miss. (WTOK) - An opportunity for teenagers and young adults to learn entrepreneurial skills and build a better tomorrow is happening at the Choctaw Indian Reservation this weekend.

“We’re hosting an event called ‘Hack the Future: Between Earth and Sky,’ says Gaia Dempsey, the founder and CEO of 7th Future. “So this is the first Hackathon ever on the Choctaw reservation; it’s really an immersive learning experience that’s designed for the youth, for 16 to 26 year olds to go through the process of moving from idea to prototype.”

This hands on event will teach the participants how to come up with ideas to solve current problems, develop prototypes, and then pitch their solutions to judges.

“We worked really hard to bring entrepreneurs and experts from around the world who are here to share what they’ve learned, act as mentors, act as guidance counselors essentially for the students as they go through the process this weekend,” Dempsey says.

For the younger participants, the Hackathon is all about building confidence.

“It’s easy for them to get discouraged and so my role is really to facilitate, to help them navigate, to help them address and use different tools that they are not familiar with so that they build that confidence that then leads to entrepreneurial confidence so that they could actually take some of these solutions to market,” says Ray Crowell, a mentor and speaker for Hack the Future.

Participants will also learn about the importance of teamwork when dealing with the problems that face us.

“Everybody has a different way to look at the problem, and so I think the greatest takeaway is that for everybody to kind of voice that, to express that, to open up, and to share that with our peers, our colleagues, mentors, because it really takes a lot of people to come together and solve these big problems,” Crowell says.

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Chief Phyliss Anderson gave a speech to kick off the Hackathon Friday. The event will run through Sunday.