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US Government Announces Open Source App Contest

Last week the Obama Administration introduced BusinessUSA, an online platform to help small businesses in their efforts to grow, hire, and export products and services. Now the U.S. Department of Commerce has kicked off a US$ 10,000 app development contest.

"By challenging developers to leverage government data in new and innovative ways, they’ll help businesses fund new activities, learn about and evaluate opportunities in the US and abroad, support education and training, and more," the contest announcement says.

If you have an app idea that can help businesses grow and create jobs, be sure to send in your submission by April 30, 2012. Judging will be from May 1 through May 31, and winners will be announced on June 1. The prize for first place is $5,000, second place wins $3,000, and third place takes home $2,000.

The judges for the competition are John Bryson, the Secretary of Commerce; Steven Van Roekel, CIO of the United States; Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook; Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google; Tim O'Reilly, CEO of O'Reilly Media; and Vivek Kundra, Executive Vice President of Emerging Market at Salesforce.com.

The contest site outlines how the apps will be judged:

  • Use of DOC Data (20%): Does the application use a novel combination of relevant data sets, including at least one dataset from one of Commerce’s bureaus?
  • Usability and Interface Design (20%): Is the application implemented in a functional and elegant fashion?
  • Relevance to Stated Objective (40%): Does the application meet the mission defined for this challenge?
  • Creativity (20%): Is the application and concept creative and interesting?

Submissions can range from software tools for the Web and PC, to mobile devices or other platforms that are accessible to the Internet. According to the contest rules, contestants must agree to allow the Department of Commerce to release their submission code as open source.

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