Dell is taking a new approach to helping entrepreneurs influence policymakers in the nation's capital: it's encouraging bright minds to hack the system.

At South by Southwest last week, Dell hosted an interactive political hackathon that invited five teams of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and students to pitch innovative solutions to policy challenges new, fledgling companies face. The five teams proposed ideas related to access to capital, markets, talent, networks, and technology, with the winning team receiving Dell laptops and a commitment from Dell to develop the proposal and champion it with the next presidential administration. Each team had to come up with a solution that could be implemented within the next U.S. president's first 100 days in office. 

"The competition is really a way of connecting policy makers with entrepreneurs on the entrepreneurs's terms, and trying to work on solutions," says Cris Turner, head of government affairs for the Americas at Dell. "That almost never happens, at least not in Washington D.C."

The panel of judges included Dell entrepreneur-in-residence Elizabeth Gore, Missouri Representative Billy Long, Texas Representative Bill Flores, GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving, Texas Representative César Blanco, and Inc. editor-at-large Tom Foster. 

The winning team's challenge was addressing access to technology, specifically increasing access to high-speed broadband, which some 20 million Americans in rural and low-income areas don't have. The team proposed a government-funded non-profit venture capital firm that would invest in technologies and solutions that expand broadband access for all Americans. 

"This could be done by executive order of the president and with current and existing appropriations that are going to agencies right now that are funding these types of activities, whether it be the Small Business Administration, the USDA's rural economic development program, the Department of Commerce, or a number of other government agencies," said Alex Wirth, co-founder of Quorum, an online tech startup that builds software enabling anybody to influence the legislative process. 

Dell's political hackathon was one of many events the company hosted at SXSW that focused on issues related to technology and women, diversity, and veterans.