Go Code contest attracts app developers

The team from the Colorado Department of State exuded confidence during a site inspection at The Business Incubator last week, articulating a vision of business connected with data that could eventually add profit to every bottom line.

The four-person contingent sent by Gov. John Hickenlooper is preparing the way for a high technology boomlet they believe could be touched off by an as-yet-undiscovered business app.

As boomlets go, this one starts with a contest modeled in part on the hackathons and codefests popular around the nation.

At stake is a software development contract worth $25,000. Not only that, but also the prestige and economic upside of being the site where the new app is developed.

State officials Brian Gryth, Trevor Timmons, Jamie Hollier, and Elaine Marino toured the Incubator on Wednesday to get a feel for one of the contest’s five sites.

Go Code Colorado is an apps challenge designed to make public data more accessible and user-friendly, the contest website said.

Teams of developers and entrepreneurs across the state will compete to solve business problems and grow the economy, according to the website.

“Five regions. Five challenges. Unlimited possibilities.”

Teams will be formed at the contest site based on personal interests and each contestant’s alignment with five challenge statements. The statements were developed by the team after consultation with business leaders around the state.

Each region may look at issues like business relocation differently, Hollier said.

Competitors will be looking for ways to link businesses with public information that is currently underused, said Gryth, a Business Intelligence Center program manager.

Cities like Colorado Springs are already organizing teams in advance to make sure as many qualified contestants show up as possible, said Timmons, Department of State chief information officer.

The contest’s five challenge statements provide a rough sketch of the 12-lane business information superhighway the Go Code team envisions the new app will supply.

The new app must include information critical to understanding business site relocation, competitive landscape, access to capital, higher education resources and potential business partners.

For example, for business relocation, the Go Code app should provide access to:

■ Infrastructure data about things like transportation or broadband connections.

■ Demographic data like income, education and age of the surrounding population.

■ Information about the availability of government incentive payments and;

■ Statistics on available workforce.

Some databases identified by the contest may not be easily accessible. Selecting the right strategic partners for funding or acquisition, for example, requires a business to consider many variables, some which might not be quantifiable for the purposes of a computer software application.

Still others may be ready-made and accessible, but must be consolidated at a single portal.

Ultimately, the new, comprehensive business analytics application would be hosted at the Colorado Secretary of State website, Gryth said.

As recent events demonstrate, some tasks related to large computer databases are best left to the private sector, which is why Gryth said his team is spearheading the competitive approach to finding a vendor for the project.

“This is the kind of challenge that requires businesses to solve because they know best what their own needs are,” Gryth said.

Challenge Weekend takes place in five cites situated in different regions of the state: Boulder, Colorado Springs, Durango, Fort Collins and Grand Junction. Contests take place March 21 through March 23.

The western Colorado leg of the contest comes to The Incubator Center, 2591 Legacy Way, starting at 6 p.m. March 21.

The two apps judged best from each region on Sunday evening move to the finals on May 9 in Denver.

Go Code is an initiative of the Colorado’s Secretary of State’s Business Intelligence Center, made possible with assistance and support of the Governor’s Office, the Statewide Internet Portal Authority, the Governor’s Office of Information Technology, and the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.


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