Rensselaer partnered with AT&T and area universities, businesses, and tech organizations to launch the AT&T Tech Valley Civic App Challenge on March 4. This program is a two-month “virtual hackathon” in which innovative thinkers, designers, artists, developers, and entrepreneurs are encouraged to “Solve Local” by building intuitive and novel smartphone apps. The apps must address the societal and civic issues in the greater Tech Valley community. Winners will receive cash prizes totaling $18,000.
Local partners include: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University at Albany, TechConnex (an affiliate for the Center for Economic Growth), Tech Valley Center of Gravity, Saratoga TechOUT, Hudson Valley Tech Meetup, New York BizLab, Beahive, Tech Valley Mobile Developers Network, Accelerate 518, and Hack Upstate.
The challenge will encourage the creation of intuitive and novel mobile apps that address and provide solutions to community issues, connect and engage citizens with their governments, and demonstrate how mobile technologies can lead to the next generation of tech jobs and investment.
“Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is proud to join Tech Valley region area partners to support the Civic App Challenge with AT&T,” said Jason Kuruzovich, director of the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship in the Lally School of Management.
“As America’s oldest technological research university, it is wonderful to see large companies sponsoring activities that can help facilitate growth in the region’s startup ecosystem. The specific structure of this challenge encourages entries by both students and seasoned technical professionals, and we are hopeful that participating teams that will explore and tackle important social issues that are significant to communities locally and beyond.”
The challenge, facilitated by Hack Upstate, was announced in front of more than 200 regional technologists and entrepreneurs at Startup Tech Valley and will run until May 1. Teams can register for the challenge and get more information here.
As America’s oldest technological research university, it is wonderful to see large companies sponsoring activities that can help facilitate growth in the region’s startup ecosystem.”—Jason Kuruzovich
“AT&T’s commitment to technology innovation in New York grows out of our company’s multibillion-dollar nationwide investment in the mobile communications network of the future,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York president, AT&T. “By encouraging students and career technologists in the Tech Valley to explore smartphone software development, we are spotlighting the enormous demand for developers and engineers needed to create the software that will drive our mobile economy.”
Participants will be eligible for cash prizes totaling $18,000: a grand prize of $10,000, followed by a second place prize of $5,000, $2,000 for third place, and two honorable mentions at $500 each. Teams submitting applications must include at least one member who attends one of the region’s institutions of higher education or is a current resident of the 19 counties that make up the Tech Valley, including Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Orange, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, Warren, and Washington.
Submitted apps will be judged on their potential to impact the Tech Valley, the quality of execution, and creativity or novelty. A panel of judges, made up of local tech experts, community leaders, and elected officials, includes Senator George A. Amedore, Jr. (R-46th Senate District), Assemblymember John T. McDonald III (D-108th Assembly District), and New York State’s Chief Technology Officer, Kishor Bagul.
Interested persons can follow the challenge on Twitter using the hashtag #TechValleyATT.