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.

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

Secretary Williams announces the launch of new business start-up tool

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne today launched MyBizColorado, a tool designed to simplify registering a business and obtaining state licenses and registrations.

The MyBizColorado tool creates a single system for new businesses to interact with multiple state agencies responsible for new businesses, including the Secretary of State’s office. The tool works on your computer, tablet, and smartphone. It is tailored to the needs of the small business users instead of state agencies.

The lieutenant governor kicked off the press conference by expressing her excitement about MyBizColorado.

Secretary Wayne Williams shares his experience with starting a business as Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and Gov. John Hickenlooper look on. (SOS photo)

“In an excellent example of collaborating across government,”she said. “You’re going to hear from the secretary of state and the sovernor about delivering a product with real value for people looking to do business here.”

Colorado businesses are required to register with the Secretary of State’s office.

Williams explained how he stopped working for a large law firm to start his own business and how difficult it was because there was really no help or guidance.

“The purpose of MyBizColorado is to walk you through the process by asking you questions and doing it in a user-friendly fashion,” he said. “Whether it’s registering your business, establishing eligibility for tax withholding, unemployment insurance, or any steps you need to take to establish a business, it is designed to be focused on the users.”

Hickenlooper is familiar with the struggles of starting a business. He founded Wynkoop Brewing Co. in the late 1980s.

“That experience and how much paperwork there was and how much red tape there was, was really the provocation that took us to try and address these things,” the governor said.

Read moreSecretary Williams announces the launch of new business start-up tool

SIPA: helping government go digital

Marybeth Van Horn accepted a $1,000 micro grant on behalf of the town of Moffat at an event Tuesday in Denver. With her are, left, Irv Halter, the director of the Department of Local Affairs, and to her right, Secretary of State Wayne Wiliams and state Sen. Dom Coram, R-Montrose. (SOS photo)
Jill Jolton, enterprise content management coordinator for the city of Arvada, and Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale. (SOS photo)

Government agencies big — the University of Colorado — and small — the town of Moffat, pop. 116 — rejoiced Tuesday night when accepting grants designed to help them put more information and services online.

CU received $3,000 to scan historic maps of the state published between 1880 and 1907 and put them online, and another $6,500 to digitize the state House and Senate journals back to the 1800s and make them available to the public.

The town of Moffat, located in Saguache County, received $1,000 to help update and maintain the town’s website.

“We are excited to use this SIPA grant to help increase communications, educate our citizens and create accessibility in our small rural community,” said Marybeth Van Horn of Moffat.

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Secretary Wayne Williams finds future and past in Little Rock

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 2017, where nine black school children made history in 1957 during a nationally watched battle over integration. (Wayne Williams photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams often tells the story of how the high school he attended once shut done rather than integrate, and during a technology conference in Arkansas this week he got to see where the public showdown first began.

At the conference, Williams also got to ride in a self-driving vehicle and heard from the “Elliot Ness of cyber crime.”

As for the school, a 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling ordering the integration of public schools was met with hostility. In Little Rock, nine black students were denied entrance to all-white Central High School, forcing a very public conflict between President Eisenhower and the Arkansas governor.

Wayne Williams in high school.

At Warren High School in Virginia, where Williams graduated in 1981, the school board decided to close the school rather than allow blacks to attend, which is why there was no graduating Class of 1959.

Williams said the area was still mired in backward thinking when he first attended school, which created an economic decline in the town, which is why he first got involved in politics.

“When I was 17 years old I gathered a group of friends together and we passed out literature to everyone walking into a polling place,” Williams often tells young leaders. “And through that we were able to change the power in my area from one party to my party. So I understand the importance of youth involvement.”

Read moreSecretary Wayne Williams finds future and past in Little Rock

SIPA doles out micro-grants to help Colorado governments get online

Andrew Cole, who oversees the Go Code Colorado program and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, with their micro-grant.
Andrew Cole, who oversees the Go Code Colorado program and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, with their micro-grant certificate.

An app for anglers statewide, a GIS map for fire hydrants in the Le Veta Fire Protection District and scanning newspaper articles about the Chicano movement for Colorado State University at Pueblo — those proposals and more received micro-grants Tuesday night from a program designed to help government put more information and services online.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office also was awarded a grant, of $5,000, for its awarding-winning Go Code Colorado program, which helps make government data more easily assessable and understandable.

The grants were doled out from the Statewide Internet Portal Authority or SIPA, which explores how citizens can electronically access state government information, products and services. Williams serves on SIPA’s board.

More than $100,000 was awarded at the ceremony at the Ralph Carr Judicial Center, where Williams spoke to the crowd. Lawmakers, including Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, and Rep. Perry Buck, R-Windsor, were on hand to give out the awards.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, back right and to the right, and other members of the Statewide Internet Portal Authority after micro-grants were awarded Tuesday night.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, second row and to the right, and other members of the Statewide Internet Portal Authority after micro-grants were awarded Tuesday night.