Tech Valley Civic App Challenge

iphone on desk next to laptopGame on: A coalition of local groups has launched the Tech Valley Civic App Challenge, which will be awarding $18,000 in prize money for community-focused mobile apps built on open data. Blurbage:

The goal of the challenge is to encourage local developers to build and deliver apps and services that serve community needs, connect and engage citizens with their governments and demonstrate how mobile technologies can lead to the next generation of tech jobs and investment. The challenge kicks off March 4th and concludes May 1st. ...
Apps submitted to the challenge will be judged on potential impact on the Tech Valley (40 percent), execution (40 percent) and creativity/novelty (20 percent). To make the challenge truly Tech Valley-centric, teams submitting mobile apps must include at least one member that is either a current resident of the 19 counties (Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Orange, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, Warren, and Washington) that make up the region or attends one of the region's institutions of higher education. A panel of judges made up of local tech experts, elected officials and community stakeholders will review apps pre-screened by Hack Upstate to determine to what extent each satisfies the submission criteria. Judges will rank finalists and assign prizes. All potential intellectual property belongs to the product teams or individual.

The first place prize is $10k, $5k for second place, $2k for third, and two $500 honorable mentions. The submission deadline is May 1. An awards announcement is tentatively scheduled for May 14 at UAlbany.

The competition is sponsored by AT&T and a wide range of local tech and institutional partners: the University at Albany, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, TechConnex (an affiliate for Center for Economic Growth), Tech Valley Center of Gravity, Saratoga TechOUT, Hudson Valley Tech Meetup, New York BizLab, Beahive, Tech Valley Mobile Developers Network, Accelerate518, and Hack Upstate.

These sorts of civic app competitions have popped up in a bunch of places over the last few years. One of the most notable has been the the NYC Big Apps competition -- its winners last year include a system for detecting residential heating violations, a web app for parks info, and a job site.

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