Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today led the administration's weekly news conference with an announcement that blends the administration's transparency goals with their commitment to the creation of 200,000 new jobs in Iowa through a new initiative called StartupIowa.
StartupIowa is bringing the open-data movement to Iowa with the OpenIowa competition, April 27-29. The three-day coding event--the first of its kind in the state--challenges developers to turn vast amounts of government data into something that benefits the state's residents, visitors, or businesses.
OpenIowa participants will be given access to already published city, county, and state datasets prior to the event. The code-a-thon will kick off the night of the 27th with pitches for using the data for web, mobile or software applications. Voting will narrow down the ideas, and teams will be formed. Coders, designers, and data experts will then have two days to bring the projects to life.
"Data initiatives such as this one have been gaining momentum since the 2009 launch of Data.gov, the federal government's effort to increase public access to information," said Reynolds. "This initiative is exciting because it blends both our transparency and job creation goals into an effort that will benefit all Iowans."
One of the first open-data competitions in the U.S., Apps for Democracy, was held in Washington, D.C. in 2008, and led to the creation of 47 iPhone, Facebook, and web applications worth more than $2.6 million to the local economy. Similar contests have since popped up across the country and around the world.
The event is being organized by StartupIowa and other partner organizations include the State of Iowa and the Des Moines Register, Polk County, and the City of Des Moines.
StartupIowa is an ambitious initiative to provide resources and visibility to Iowa entrepreneurs. From Dubuque to Council Bluffs, Des Moines to Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids to Ames, Iowa has abundant resources for entrepreneurs and startups. StartupIowa joined the Startup America Partnership on December 13, 2011, as the eighth region in the nation.
StartupIowa is focused on helping startups grow and create jobs and value within Iowa and supports the main goals of the Startup America Partnership, which are:
Provide valuable resources and connections to help young companies grow
Support regional startup ecosystems throughout the country
Recognize startups as the drivers of our economy and their founders as American heroes
Iowa is uniquely positioned to leverage our natural strengths in bio-sciences, advanced materials and information technology over the coming decades.
StartupIowa continues to develop the Iowa entrepreneurial ecosystem by building tools and coordinating events, such as:
The Iowa Startup Fair, which featured over 100 Iowa Startups in seven locations throughout the state, and hosted over 400 visitors;
The Iowa Startup and Entrepreneurial Calendar, which provides a central location to discover startup events throughout the state;
And the Iowa "Startupedia', a wikipedia of entrepreneurial knowledge built by the community itself;
And the just-announced, OpenIowa.
StartupCity Des Moines is an early-stage technology startup incubator anchored in the middle of "Silicon Sixth Avenue' in Des Moines. StartupCity Des Moines provides resident startups with space, mentoring, education and strong community events to get startups what they need to be successful.
StartupCity Des Moines launched in late October, currently has nine resident startups, and has hosted thousands of individuals at the educational and community events since its opening.
For more information, please check out www.StartUpIA.org.