Big Prizes and Civic Tech at the Fifth Baltimore Hackathon

The Baltimore Hackathon, now in its fifth iteration, has become a staple for techies in the Baltimore area and we’d like to announce that registration is currently open! Betamore is excited to see two of our fabulous alumni, Chris Guzman and Brigitte Warner, leading the charge this year as co-organizers.

The fifth Baltimore Hackathon takes place April 28–30, 2017 at Open Worksand Impact Hub Baltimore. We’re excited to see the Baltimore community come together and what participants build. Past winners have included high school students, social entrepreneurs, and important community members.

Humble Beginnings

Started by community members of a coworking/incubating space with a limited number of attendees, the Baltimore Hackathon has humble beginnings. However small the first hackathon was, it didn’t limit the impact made by its first attendees. Among the first attendees was popular iOS instructor Ray Wenderlich who made a storytelling iPad app.

The first Baltimore Hackathon also served as the nesting grounds from which organizations like Betamore would emerge. The prizes weren’t much at the first event; they totaled to a bit more than $1,000. Instead, it was all about growing the Baltimore Tech community and playing with new technologies. In the few years between the first Baltimore Hackathon and the most recent one, the number of attendees have jumped to over 150 people. This year the Baltimore Hackathon will offer over $10,000 in prizes, and an even broader exposure to new people and tech.

The Hackathon’s importance to the Baltimore community

The Baltimore Hackathon has always been one of the largest networking events for Baltimore based devs. It has also given student attendees exposure to STEM opportunities. Past attendees & winners include high schoolers, Digital Harbor Foundation students, and representatives from local makerspaces such as the Baltimore Node. It’s incredibly inspiring to watch longtime hackers mentor and give advice to student and youth attendees.

It’s a happy occurrence that all of the core leadership team of the Baltimore Hackathon are all from underrepresented groups in tech. That team is committed to making the event an accessible and inclusive space. In doing so we’ve published a code of conduct to ensure that all participants can enjoy the event.

Since the first year of the Baltimore Hackathon, we’ve always embraced our motto of “Build. Meet People. Have Fun.” Keeping with that theme, there will be three categories of prizes for hackers to participate in. Teams can the software track, the hardware track, or win a prize for audience’s favorite project. The audience’s favorite project will win $1000. While first, second, and third place for the software and hardware tracks will win $2000, $1000, and $500 respectively.

This year attendees will still have a chance to win after we wrap up on Sunday afternoon. There will be a follow up event on July 29th, 2017. Participants will have the time between Sunday’s award ceremony and the follow up event to continue working on their projects. We’ll invite all projects, whether or not they won a prize, to come back and present the progress they’ve made on their hacks for a chance to win one of the follow up prizes worth a combined amount of $3,500.

The Civic Tech Prize

Another change we’re making to the Baltimore Hackathon is the addition of one other prize. We’re going back to our roots and again offering a civic tech prize originally offered at the second Baltimore Hackathon. The grand prize winner for the civic tech track will walk away with $2500, second prize is worth $1250, and third prize is $750. The civic tech prize, sponsored by the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Information Technology, will be awarded to the team that can build an innovative and creative project, or best use data to solve issues experienced by Baltimore City citizens.

The Baltimore Hackathon has consistently been a venue for social change. One of the winners of last year’s hackathon joined the Social Innovation Lab at Johns Hopkins to promote the availability of tax credits to Baltimore City homeowners. We’re excited to formalize dedication to social innovation with the addition of the civic tech prize. It’s also appropriate to note that our venues will be Open Works: a makerspace in the heart of Baltimore’s up-and-coming arts and entertainment district and Impact Hub Baltimore: an innovation lab, community center, and coworking space that regularly hosts events for social innovators.

See you at the Baltimore Hackathon!

We hope you attend! Tickets are only $20 (less if you’re a student). The ticket includes a free t-shirt, amazing food all weekend long, and the chance to make lifelong connections within the Baltimore community. Register now!

Reposted from AngelHack with permission from the author.

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