Another banner year for the Secretary of State’s “Go Code Colorado”

Guests, contestants and Colorado Secretary of State staff mingled before the start of this year’s Go Code Colorado competition. Left to right, Sean Williams, son of Secretary of State Wayne Williams; Tim Griesmer, legislative director for the SOS; Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert; Secretary Williams; and Jack Arrowsmith, director of the Statewide Internet Portal Authority. (SOS photo)

This year’s winners of the state’s ultimate techie competition, Go Code Colorado, walked away with $15,000 per team after creating tools that turned government data into useful information on three different fronts, including the tiny house movement.

The final competition was held Thursday at the Seawell Ballroom in Denver. Judges selected three winning teams from nine, which had been whittled down from a competitive field of participants that started with nearly 40 teams made up of more than 260 participants after the kick off in February.

“This year’s finalist teams showed an incredible breadth of ideas for how public data can help business decision makers,” said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

The three winning teams were Carbos from Fort Collins, Adobio from Colorado Springs and Business Incentives from Grand Junction.

When I heard there was a team named Carbos, I initially thought that was the entry about food trucks. Instead Carbos leverages public data and blockchain technology to remove barriers to entry into the carbon offset marketplace.

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Go Code mentor weekend kicks off at Google

The Google Boulder campus, the host of Go Code Colorado’s 2018 mentor weekend. (Go Code photo)

Go Code Colorado‘s fifth annual mentor weekend kicked off last Friday at the new Google campus in Boulder.

Go Code is a statewide business app challenge housed in the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. The award-winning challenge is the first and only statewide effort of its kind that uses public data to solve business problems. It is overseen by staffer Andrew Cole.

This year’s finalist apps focus on housing development, food trucks, childcare and transportation.

Andrew Cole explaining the 2018 “Go Code challenge coin” to the crowd on Friday. (Go Code photo)

Cole thanked the teams for helping to make public data in Colorado more accessible. He then handed out a “2018 Go Code challenge coin,” similar to challenge coins that military members receive upon finishing boot camp. He explained that the story goes if a military member is caught without his coin, drinks are on that person.

Mentor weekend provides an opportunity for all 10 teams to receive mentorship by leaders from Boom Town AcceleratorCA TechnologiesGoogleHouse of GeniusTwitter and other minds from Colorado’s tech and entrepreneurial community.

This years competition kicked off Feb. 7 in Denver. In attendance were Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his predecessor, Scott Gessler, who was in office when the Go Code Colorado challenge began, as well as various SOS staffers and Colorado lawmakers.

The challenge weekend began April 13 in five cities statewide: Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Grand Junction and Fort Collins. Two teams from each location were named finalists, awarded $2,500 each and headed to Boulder for mentor weekend April 27-29.

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Go Code Colorado: another year of data-driven competition

Simon Tafoya, the policy director for Gov. John Hickenlooper, and Secretary of State Wayne Williams, at the Go Code Colorado challenge kickoff Wednesday night in Denver (SOS photo)

Colorado’s funkiest and most fun data contest — Go Code Colorado — kicked off Wednesday night, marking the fifth year that the Secretary of State’s office has invited creative minds to use public information to build a product that helps businesses.

“We work hard to make data available and usable for Colorado businesses,” Secretary of State Wayne Williams said in his opening remarks.

Previous winners have developed a range of projects. One helped small farmers locate farmers markets and price information. Another created a platform for companies to connect with potential employees based on personality match.

Sen. Steve Fenberg, a Boulder Democrat, heaped praise on the Secretary of State’s office and the award-winning Go Code Colorado program during last year’s competition.

“This is, in my opinion, the epitome of how we should be thinking about government moving forward,” he said. “We should be thinking about how to take the assets and the innovation of the new industries that are popping up around tech and see how that expertise and that talent solves some of the problems that maybe government can’t do on its own.”

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2017 Go Code challenge winners focus on water, noise and farmers

Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Andrew Cole, the program manager for Go Code Colorado, which held its final competition Wednesday night. (SOS photo)

Wednesday marked the end of another successful year for Go Code Colorado, a statewide business app challenge housed in Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office.

After months of preparing, the top 10 teams gave their final pitches to a panel of judges. A member from each team spent five minutes explaining their app idea, followed by a three-minute question-and-answer period.

“I don’t know if this is uniquely Colorado, but it’s the best of Colorado,” Andrew Cole, program manager for Go Code, said after Secretary Williams announced the three winning teams.

The Seawell ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts filled with cheers from the winning team members and their friends and families, and some groans from those who made it as far as the finale but did not win. Some vowed to return next year.

The three teams — Drip, Hud Buddy and Magpie Supply — will each receive $25,000 contract from the state and a sponsor incentive package.

“I continue to be impressed by the creativity and collaboration of the Go Code Colorado teams,” Secretary Williams said. “Teams continue to show the value of public data if we can get it into the hands of innovative and entrepreneurial people who have a different perspective on how to use it.”

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Go Code Colorado: “This is the epitome of how we should be thinking”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with the Durango High School team that advanced to Go Code Colorado’s mentor weekend in Boulder. Left to right, Noah Clements, Anthony Parker, Cord Arnold, Jarvie Arnold, the secretary of state, Georgia Witchel and Claudia Luthy. (SOS photo)

By Lynn Bartels and Julia Sunny

The Colorado Secretary of State’s data-to-app contest, Go Code Colorado, attracted a variety of entrepreneurs, coders, Google bigwigs and others to its mentor weekend, which kicked off Friday night in Boulder.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who had been in Rifle earlier that morning at a regional clerks training seminar, braved rain, snow, fog and a detour on eastbound Interstate 70 to make it the event, held at Google’s headquarters in Boulder. He noted that some members of the Durango High School challenge team were missing their prom to attend mentor weekend.

State Sen. Steve Fenberg, a Boulder Democrat, heaped praise on the Secretary of State’s office and its award-winning Go Code Colorado program.

“This is, in my opinion, the epitome of how we should be thinking about government moving forward,” Fenberg said. “We should be thinking about how to take the assets and the innovation of the new industries that are popping up around tech and see how that expertise and that talent solves some of the problems that maybe government can’t do on its own.”

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