During the 2007-2009 economic crisis, many small businesses weren't able to produce a profit. With people being conscious of what they were buying and living frugally, small businesses could not stay afloat. People also couldn't find deals on items without spending lots of time and effort.

Another big inspiration for us was the state of unemployment at that time. It shocked us that in the United States, 1 out of 10 people did not have a job.

The last big inspiration for us was that people who wanted to volunteer to help those in need had no easy way to do so.

When we starting thinking of ideas for this hackathon, we wanted to find a way to get small businesses to be able to sell their products and the unemployed to be able to have a means of making money again. Eco-$park addresses and solves all these problems during the 2007-2009 recession.

What it does

Eco-$park allows local small businesses to list products they create and also easily hire people for jobs such as the delivery of their products to the consumer. The unemployed (or even volunteers) can list their hours of work. Then, small businesses can look and select who they would like to higher for a certain job.

How we built it

We built the project using a Python web framework model called Flask. We used Python as our backend language, with HTML, CSS, and Javascript on the frontend. We used MongoDB to securely save all our data. We used Bootstrap styles and its grid system in order to ensure our site was mobile-friendly. Heroku was used to host our app. Our development server was a Raspberry Pi.

Challenges we ran into

The main challenge we ran into was organizing our code, due to this project being so big with lots of functionality, it also had LOTS of code in it- with a big file, it was hard to find bits of code and overall be able to map the flow of the application and we saw this problem the most when we joined all the parts of the code together. We got through this though by reorganizing the code so we could understand it better and fix the errors.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  1. Having a working user login/signup and email verification system
  2. The small business being able to upload listings of their products and customize it by adding images and descriptions of their products so they make it appeal to the customers
  3. People being able to upload and edit job availability effortlessly
  4. Small businesses being able to hire easily and safely because they are provided a background check certificate of the person they are hiring
  5. The ability for volunteers and students in need of volunteer hours to serve and help the community
  6. An easy to use, the user interface for searching and purchasing items

What we learned

We learned the importance of refactoring code, as well as the value of a good team and staying positive.

What's next for Eco$park

We plan to make our product work for multiple different geographical areas.

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