Shelter Scotland Product Forge Hackathon


A room full of talented people spending 3 days and 3 nights side by side developing new business ideas, overcoming challenges and bonding - sound good?

Product Forge is back for its fifth edition to bring together student designers, developers, makers and marketers as well as graduates, freelancers and entrepreneurs for an unforgettable adventure between July 29th and 31st in Edinburgh. This hackathon is running on the theme of homelessness in partnership with Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity.

Participants form small cross-functional teams to work on a product prototype over a weekend. Everyone receives mentoring, meals and 24 hour access to the venue and the top ranking teams win support to help them develop their concept further.

Use this opportunity to develop your career, gain new skills, network with industry professionals, meet potential employers or even kick-start your own company!

Students, request a concession ticket here:


Graeme Brown
Director at Shelter Scotland

Graeme took up the post of Director of Shelter Scotland in July 2008. Prior to this he was Director of Communications, Policy and Campaigns for Shelter UK. Before joining Shelter, Graeme was an independent consultant at the Home Office, the Rough Sleepers Unit at the Department of the Environment, the Social Exclusion Unit in the Cabinet Office and a number of NGOs (non-governmental organisations).

Kate Ho
Senior Product Manager, FreeAgent

Enthusiastic, quick-learning UX designer turned Product Manager at FreeAgent. Kate has previously worked on MyGovScot, the Scottish Government's digital service designed for people in Scotland to access public services that are easy to find and simple to use.

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Nick Price
CEO, Bright Purple Resourcing

Nick is 26 years an industry veteran of the technology recruitment world, founder of Bright Purple Resourcing, the Edinburgh head quartered recruiting firm. In December 2015, Nick merged his major shareholding in to a new business called IDE International. This business delivers solutions in smart enterprise, smart cities and smart people. Nick has also been involved in supporting The Homeless World Cup, an organisation that looks at answering the issues of homelessness using football.


Janine Matheson
Director, Creative Edinburgh

Janine is the Director of Creative Edinburgh, a 2100+ strong network for the creative, cultural and tech communities of Edinburgh which launched in November 2011. Past projects include working with the Cultural Enterprise Office, and founding Sierra Metro (an artist led gallery) and Make Works, which allowed her to work closely and collaboratively with designers, artists and makers, supporting their practice while provoking her own.

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Adam Lang
Head of Communications & Policy

As head of Communicatiosn & Policy, Adam is responsible for our policy campaigns, public affairs, marketing, media and digital work. He joined us in June 2014 and brings a wealth of experience as a senior public affairs, policy and communications manager. Previously Adam worked as an Account Director for a leading communications consultancy, Weber Shandwick. He provided strategic insight and senior counsel in relation to the UK and public environments.


Danielle Rowley
Campaigns and Public Affairs Officer

Danielle is new to Shelter Scotland, having started in June as Campaigns and Public Affairs Officer. She will be helping to carry out Shelter Scotland’s upcoming homelessness campaign, working with service users, politicians, our local city hubs and other stakeholders. Danielle previously worked at ACOSVO and has a background in journalism, politics and third sector membership organisations.

Ruth Robin
Operations Manager

Ruth has worked in various homeless services for many years, including youth accommodation and support, homeless prevention functions such as deposit guarantee schemes, section 11 preventative functions, mediation services for families, and temporary accommodation. Now as Operations Manager, Ruth has responsibility for Shelter Scotland’s Housing Support Functions.


Conrad Rossouw
Digital Manager at Shelter Scotland

Conrad Rossouw is currently the Digital Manager for Shelter Scotland. Conrad manages a 5 person digital team, developing and implementing the charity's digital strategy and managing their social media channels. Conrad has over 10 years experienced in managing and ensuring the successful delivery of complex digital projects.


James Baster
Developer at Shelter Scotland

James is a developer who works at Shelter Scotland on digital tools and data handling. He has experience running several non-profit organisations and projects. He also works with the local tech scene and runs a calendar of tech events at

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Tom Youll
Web Writer & Content Manager at Shelter Scotland

Tom has worked at Shelter Scotland for nearly 12 years, first as part of Rough Sleeper initiative where he worked across the hostels and drop-ins of Glasgow advising and advocating for people who were sleeping on the streets. Tom now works as a writer in the Digital team, where he makes sure that the content on Shelter Scotland Get advice pages is up-to-date and he has an active interest in the user journeys and usability of websites.


Keith Bartholomew
Senior Digital Officer

Keith works on digital team with Shelter Scotland overseeing projects, developing and maintaining the social media channels and handling the electronic communication.

Jamie McHale
Founder at Telaco

Founder of Edinburgh-based business consultancy Telaco, Saltire Fellow in Entrepreneurship. An entrepreneurial leader with a focus on strategy, technology and communications.

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Amy Hinchliffe
Designer at Everyone

Amy is a designer at Everyone, a digital agency based in Glasgow. Amy is passionate about applying creative thinking to problem solving and producing innovative design experiences.

Amanda Collins
National Marketing Communications Manager

Amanda’s background is in marketing for the software and engineering sectors covering everything from computational fluid dynamics to underwater wireless technology. She has been with Shelter Scotland for just over two and half years as National Marketing Communications Manager with a remit covering brand, communications and marketing in Scotland.



Allan Lloyds
Founder & MD, Product Forge

I'm the founder and managing director of Product Forge - Product Forge run competitive hackathons with a product focus. We nurture talent within Scotland’s digital technologies sector though inclusive open weekends as well as corporate events. The format is simple - pitch an idea, form a team, build a prototype. Our experienced teams make it a unique and engaging experience.

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Michelle Caulfield
Events Coordinator

Events Coordinator for Product Forge. Irish born, moved to Edinburgh in 2016 after studying Event Management & PR in College.

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Megan Carlin
Events Designer

Edinburgh native and Napier graduate with a degree in Digital Media and two minors in Visual Communication and Mobile Media from the Hochschule Der Medien in Stuttgart.

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Answers to the most commonly asked questions about attending a Product Forge Weekend event.

  • Is Product Forge a hackathon?

    One of our past participants said that Product Forge was the "hackathon with a twist!" What did they mean by that?

    Whilst we incorporate many of the same elements of a hackathon as you'd expect - the intensity of the experience, developing a technical prototype - we also expect our participants to consider the business case behind what they're building.

    This, in our opinion, is the essence of product development, and closer to the experience you would have working in a startup.

  • Do I need to have an idea to come to the event?

    No, not at all! We'll be providing plenty of support and inspiration to get you thinking creatively, and ideas are developed as teams.

  • I am not technical, will I have anything to contribute?

    Yes, absoutely - Product Forge isn't just about the developers! Products require good design and a solid business case backed with market research. Our participants come from a wide variety of backgrounds and we'll have mentors on hand to help you contribute effectively to your team.

  • Is this only for students, am I too old?

    No! Product Forge is open to all, and whilst the majority of the participants tend to be university undergraduates, we also attract "grey hair" freelancers and other professionals!

    Due to other commitments you may not want or be able to attend into the early hours like our student participants - that's completely understandable, and we just ask that you attend the team check-ins and communicate your availability to us and your team-mates.

  • What if I already have a team, or what if I don't and I don't know anyone?

    Team formation happens at the event, and you don't need to know anyone else who is going. You'll quickly meet new people!

    Whilst you're welcome to attend the event with someone that you'd like to work with, we actively encourage participants to work with people they don't know. We also have strict guidelines on team size and teams need to have a balance of skills.

  • What do I need to bring?

    We provide the food and drink, so all that is absolutely required is a laptop and lots of enthusiasm!

    If you're intending to stay late or sleep at the venue, please bring a sleeping bag, toiletries and a change of clothes.

    You may also want to consider bringing business cards and/or copies of your CV if you're hunting for work.

  • Why are you charging when other hackathons are free?

    Most hackathons run over 24 hours - ours last over a weekend and sometimes even longer.

    Due to the costs of running an extended event and the problems of no-shows and drop-outs when providing complimentary tickets, we ask participants to pay a small cover charge to ensure they're fully committed.

    Even on the basis of meals alone, we feel the tickets are more than value for money. Students can also apply for a concession of up to 80%, and in some circumstances, travel reimbursements can be provided.

  • Do you have a code of conduct policy?

    Yes, we have a code of conduct which participants at our events are expected to abide by.