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Civic Tech Collaboration for Economic Inclusion. #Got1idea

August 2017 marks the start of OUR apps competition, the 2017 Colony 5 Civic Tech Challenge – CTC17. Most anyone can submit an idea or join a team to help take an idea to reality.

As in other apps competitions, the path begins with submitting your idea online, and coming to workshops and meetups to gain valuable information for competitive development and to build relationships with other Idea Leaders and potential team members. Your endgame is to create an app-enabled business that becomes a valuable component of a smart community. Join us.

America has gotten pretty good at economic development of its big cities, except when it comes the more ‘distressed’ areas. The blueprint for those areas has been an obvious mismatch for the problems and as a result, Americans have spent decades accepting diminishing returns from those areas. Across the country, these areas are under a brand of fear that turns the cogs of disinvestment. In recent years, institutions have been pumping loads of urban planners and social scientists, heavily influenced by their own personal bias, employing textbook approaches – the next blueprints to “attack the conditions” in these communities.

Without a framework that references the normality - a time when there was economic parity and social clarity, what will these communities look like or represent? How will this technocratic approach influence the character of the people? What we do next will begin to create that history.

“The economic loss from fear is appalling”

W. Edwards Deming

Think of CTC17 as the first 90-days of a long-term renaissance of entrepreneurship to reclaim deserted swaths of the South and West sides of Chicago. In CTC17, people can also access online workshops and join projects to lend expertise over the 3-month Challenge.

Your team will prove your app-enable business concept by creating a working prototype during the CTC17 Hackathon competition weekend November 3rd – 5th. You don’t have to know how to code, but we are looking for people, that if they win and are given the resources, will be passionate in the difficult process of developing a successful business.

There are hundreds of apps competitions and hackathons each year that spark the fertile minds of innovators across the city. Join us as we begin the journey to grow the best of these entrepreneurs in our communities.

We believe economic improvement is now in the hands of neighborhoods – we need to support this cycle. Many of our participants have expressed a desire to open a business, whether retail or tech, in distressed areas as both economic levers and positive examples for the community. Most of the app prototypes born of these civic tech activities leverage and produce unique datasets. Strategic value is also available to larger industry segments as the pipeline of the app-enabled businesses seem to fall into a distinct set of categories in the graphic below.

Our Advisory Committee believes there is no bad idea. However, we want to reward the top 6 with the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in Civic Tech to help bring your concept to market. Our approach is unique where we’d rather no longer let potential innovations die on the vine as merely good ideas.

In the past 3-years we have received over 160 solid entries. Sure, we kissed some frogs, but our panel of experts in tech, finance, and business development vetted and declared 14 teams capable of producing economically sustainable and scalable app-enabled businesses. However, these businesses were never funded. Aren’t you curious what we might be missing out on.

This is the challenge. We ask your participation...


More to come in our upcoming blog posts.

For more information, to submit an idea, or to register for Challenge events:

#BlackstoneInclusiveChallenge #got1idea #colony5 #entrepreneur #chicago