Hackers Unite to Improve Their Communities

Data professionals across the country will be combining their skills this weekend to improve Federal, state, and local government.

The so-called National Day of Civic Hacking begins June 4. Each year, the event presents attendees with government-focused challenges and asks them to create the best digital solution to the problem.

“National Day of Civic Hacking is a nationwide day of action where developers, government employees, designers, journalists, data scientists, non-profit employees, UX designers, and residents who care about their communities come together to host civic tech events leveraging their skills to help their community,” the event page said.

Events are hosted across the country, facilitating focus on problems that affect both local and national communities.

Though the event is sponsored by the Code for America Brigades, Secondmuse, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a variety of Federal agencies are sponsoring challenges for the hackers to address. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency is asking hackers to help with America’s waste problem and the loss of honeybee populations through apps and data visualizations.

The Washington, D.C, competition, in collaboration with the SBA, focuses on aiding the success of local microbusinesses: those that have five or fewer employees. According to the White House’s report, “Creating an Economy Built to Last,” these small and new businesses create two out of every three new jobs in the country, and are often owned by women, immigrants, and other minority groups.

The U.S. Senate’s “Wealth Gap Report” states that “88 percent of entrepreneurs who gained small business counseling were still in business after five years, whereas 50 percent of entrepreneurs who did not receive this training were out of business.”

The challenge encourages hackers to use open data sets, particularly those provided by the government, as a means of providing this essential information to business owners. Audience favorites will be voted on at the end of the event.

Jessie Bur
About Jessie Bur
Jessie Bur is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Cybersecurity, FedRAMP, GSA, Congress, Treasury, DOJ, NIST and Cloud Computing.
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