Thursday, January 12, 2012
State Sponsored Mobile App Contest Supports Goals of Council's 2020 Job Growth Challenge
The Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) announced an innovative approach to meeting some of the Commonwealth's technology needs -- they are crowd sourcing their project by way of a mobile app contest. The contest supports a key element in MassTLC's 2020 jobs growth challenge.
A couple years ago, MassTLC put out a challenge to the tech sector to create 100,000 new technology jobs by the end of the decade. Since then, MassTLC's board and special task force on job creation has developed a framework of action organized around people, capital, and infrastructure. The task force's recommendations will be communicated to the Administration in early 2012.
One of the task force recommendations is for the Commonwealth to consider the role of the "Government as First Customer." It posits that there is a significant opportunity to connect local entrepreneurs/start-ups with state agencies in need of innovative technology solutions to critical state needs. The entrepreneur/start-up benefits with a first referenceable client, the state agency benefits by accelerating development of solutions to critical needs, and together we accelerate our local job growth engine by buying local.
As an example of how 'Government as First Customer' could work, EEA Secretary Richard Sullivan announced a contest that invites designers and mobile application developers to create applications to help the public find outdoor recreation hot spots in Massachusetts. Dubbed the "Get Outdoors Massachusetts Mobile Apps Contest," the competition is open to the public and seeks participation from application developers to create a mobile app that features Massachusetts outdoor and natural resources.
EEA's Departments of Agricultural Resources (DAR), Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Fish and Game (DFG) have published geospatial data for developers to create a mobile app designed to map public lands, state parks, farms, public water and land access points, rinks, pools, and other outdoor venues for outdoor recreation.
MassTLC is a proud supporter of this innovative crowd sourcing initiative. "Start-ups are the jobs growth engine for our economy and a 'first customer' is often the difference between success and failure," said MassTLC CEO Tom Hopcroft. "With over 400 mobile and 100 big data/analytics companies and new entrants every day, EEA's crowd sourced approach achieves the dual purposes of tapping the best technology talent to help deliver EEA services and creating that essential bridge that could help local entrepreneurs access a new market." Several MassTLC Mobile Cluster advisory board members are serving on the judging panel that will select the winner.
The submission deadline is March 30, and registration is free. Entrants will compete for prizes including the opportunity to showcase their work to local technology executives. EEA will announce the winners on April 18.
View the official Get Outdoors Massachusetts Mobile Apps contest rules and information.
See also the recently announced MBTA, Hubway, and Food Trucks Web and Mobile App Contest.