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AT&T Western New York Civic App Challenge | Business

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AT&T Western New York Civic App Challenge
AT&T Western New York Civic App Challenge

The challenge - Solve Local!

Technology giant AT&T along with University at Buffalo, State University of New York at Fredonia, Z80 Labs, InfoTech Niagara, Launch NY, United Way of Buffalo &Erie County and Hack Upstate today announced the AT&T Western New York Civic App Challenge—a two-month “virtual hackathon” in which developers are encouraged to “Solve Local” by building smartphone apps that serve Western New Yorkers. Winners will receive cash prizes totaling $18,000.

The challenge, facilitated by Hack Upstate, was launched at d!g Buffalo (pronounced ‘dig’) on September 10, the newly opened co-work space on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and will run until November 10. Coders, designers and technologists can register for the challenge and get more information at attwny.hackupstate.com

The AT&T Western New York Civic App Challenge encourages innovative thinkers, designers, artists, developers and entrepreneurs to create intuitive and novel mobile apps that address and provide solutions for social and civic issues in the Western New York region.

“AT&T's commitment to technology innovation in Upstate 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 Western New York to explore smart phone software development we are spotlighting the enormous demand for developers and engineers needed to create the software that will drive our mobile economy.”

The challenge will award a grand prize of $10,000, followed by a second place prize of $5,000 and $3,000 for third place. Teams submitting applications must include at least one member who is either a current resident of the eight counties that make up the Western New York region (Alleghany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming) or attends one of the region’s institutions of higher education.

Submitted apps will be judged on their potential to impact Western New York, 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 Mark Grisanti (R-60th Senate District) and Assemblyman Sean Ryan (D-149th Assembly District).

“I applaud AT&T and the many community partners that have come together to bring this creative app challenge to this region and for providing a platform to showcase the remarkable technology and entrepreneurship talent that is so prevalent in Western New York,” said New York State Senator Grisanti. “The civic themed apps developed as part of this challenge will demonstrate how mobile technology can be used to improve the lives of the residents of this community and I look forward to the end results.”

“I thank AT&T for bringing this innovative challenge to Western New York, and for working with the local technology community, organizations, and academia to create this unique opportunity,” said New York State Assemblyman Ryan. “Bringing the Civic App Challenge to Western New York shows that AT&T knows we are a region that is on the move, with many talented technology innovators looking to bring their ideas to the national stage. This challenge will bring out the best minds Western New York has to offer, and create new technology-based solutions that will help to improve the lives of people living in Western New York, and our entire country.”

“University at Buffalo is proud to partner with AT&T and all of the other local organizations in hosting this App Challenge,” said Tom Ulbrich, assistant dean and executive director, University at Buffalo’s School of Management and Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. “Thanks to AT&T’s leadership, we have an exciting opportunity for our students and community members to use civic data and technology to create apps benefitting the Western New York region.”

“Entrepreneurship and community engagement are key goals of Fredonia,” Dr. Kevin Kearns, vice president, Engagement and Economic Development, State University of New York at Fredonia. “AT&T’s civic app challenge is a terrific way for us to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit in Western New York and engage the community to create greater opportunity.”

"Z80 Labs is excited to partner with AT&T and the other dynamic community partners, to encourage innovation with open and mobile data,” said Dan Magnuszewski, managing director, Z80 Labs Technology Incubator. The world has clearly shifted to mobile technologies. The ability to take advantage of openly available data, and connect with people on their mobile devices, deserves the attention of not only the software/IT community, but all industries, cities, and towns. The world is changing and we need to stay ahead of it."

"Access to information is often a barrier for people when it comes to finding the services they need," said Michael Weiner, United Way president and CEO. "We are delighted to be a partner in the AT&T Western New York Civic App Challenge because it has the potential to deliver important information, in innovative ways, to the people who need it most. The Challenge will also encourage people with valuable technical skills to join in the search for local solutions to our most pressing social issues, ultimately resulting in a more vibrant community."

“As a growing hotbed for entrepreneurship, there is virtually no business in our new innovation economy where informatics isn’t playing a crucial role,” said Marnie LaVigne, CEO, LaunchNY, the region’s venture development organization. “It’s incredibly timely to be working with AT&T and our partner organizations to focus on using our data assets to drive new solutions that make a difference in people lives across our community.”

“InfoTech Niagara is excited to partner with AT&T and the other community partners that form this tech collaboration to bring the AT&T Civic App Challenge to this region,” remarked InfoTech Niagara Chairman Peter Ronca. “What a great way to showcase the many talented people we have in the WNY technology community while developing new civic mobile apps for the residents of this great region.  I know many of our members will jump at the opportunity to participate in the Challenge.”    

“The AT&T WNY Civic App Challenge aligns with dig and the BNMC, Inc.'s mission to provide resources, mentorship and support for the growing start-up community here in Western New York” said Jessica Edwards, curator, d!g Buffalo. “We are proud to be the official host venue for this innovative tech event and to be partnering with AT&T and the other community partners to provide local entrepreneurs, coders and software developers a stage to demonstrate the pivotal role mobile technology is playing in the regional start-up landscape.”

"We are excited to have the opportunity to work alongside AT&T and an outstanding collection of community partners in Western New York; the University at Buffalo, SUNY Fredonia, Z80 Labs, United Way, LaunchNY and InfoTech Niagara,” remarked Doug Crescenzi, co-founder of Syracuse-based Hack Upstate. “The AT&T Western New York Civic App Challenge is the sign of a vibrant community that is poised to cultivate and retain Upstate New York's premiere collection of STEM talent."

The challenge will also feature a one-day symposium Opportunities in Open Data on September 27th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at d!g Buffalo that explores community issues in the region that stand to gain from software innovation using civic and government open data. Free to the public, the symposium also provides coders, designers, software engineers with orientation to community issues, access to area non-profit leaders and opportunity to brainstorm how civic apps can be monetized to create local economic development and community service. All interested individuals are asked to RSVP to http://buffalo-open-data.eventbrite.com by September 24th.

Interested persons can follow the challenge on Twitter using the hashtag #ATTWNY.



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