MassIT Partners with MassChallenge to Leverage $1M Start-up Competition
BOSTON - MassIT, the Commonwealth's lead state agency for technology across the Executive Branch, today announced a first of its kind MassIT Government Innovation Competition, with a $50,000 prize for the winning project. MassIT will partner with MassChallenge, a start-up accelerator that supports high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs, on this initiative.
The goal of the MassIT Government Innovation Competition is to incent high-quality start-ups to develop innovative solutions that can help state government meet constituent needs more efficiently and at lower cost to taxpayers. For the first time, the Commonwealth will have access to entrepreneurs focused on improving the constituent-government relationship. The Commonwealth plans to implement a pilot of the winning project, with the goal of cost-effectively improving delivery of services to constituents, achieving greater internal efficiencies, or both.
"Massachusetts is renowned as a hub for technology and innovation; MassChallenge's support of high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs has helped enhance that reputation. By working together, MassIT and MassChallenge can accelerate the Commonwealth's use of technology solutions and harness the wealth of expertise available to us," said Commonwealth Chief Information Officer Bill Oates.
MassChallenge awards over $1 million in cash prizes each year to winning startups, with zero equity taken.
Now in its fifth year, the competition has supported 489 startups, which have created more than 4,000 new jobs and raised over $550 million in outside funding. This year alone, MassChallenge received approximately 1,650 applications from 50 countries and 40 states. After initial rounds of judging of all applicants, 128 finalists - in honor of Massachusetts's Route 128 technology corridor - are invited to participate in MassChallenge's four-month start-up accelerator program and related sidecar competitions.
In addition to the creation of business gains, this competition is aligned with and supports the work of the Commonwealth's Government Innovation Officer (GIO), whose role was created in 2012 by Executive Order 542 (EO 542). GIO Tony Parham said, "The Commonwealth has been pursuing a number of innovative projects to enhance the delivery of state government services. The MassIT Government Innovation Competition helps us to explore new possibilities by leveraging the creative talent within the startup ecosystem."
"The Commonwealth has been a longtime supporter of innovation and a critical partner to MassChallenge since the founding of our organization. The MassIT Government Innovation Competition is an outstanding opportunity for entrepreneurs to use government resources to help make a big impact," said MassChallenge co-founder and President, Akhil Nigam.
This year, the MassIT Government Innovation Competition is one of a number of smaller sidecar competitions that accompany and leverage the larger MassChallenge competition. The MassIT Government Innovation Competition is open to any qualifying start-up that applies by the August 27, 2014 deadline. Entrepreneurs whose work can help MassIT leverage innovation to support, enable, and transform the operation of state government and delivery of services to constituents are invited to compete. Please see this page for more information and to apply.
MassChallenge is the world's largest startup accelerator and the first to support high-impact, early stage entrepreneurs with no strings attached. Over $1 million in cash prizes is awarded annually to winning startups with zero equity taken. Additional benefits for startups include world-class mentorship and training, free office space, access to funding, legal advice, media attention and over $10 million of in-kind support. MassChallenge is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. All proceeds support the startups via the accelerator program. MassChallenge does not take equity or place any restrictions on participating startups. To learn more about MassChallenge, visit www.masschallenge.org.