Hackanooga 2014 To Tackle Education And Workforce Development

Friday, April 25, 2014
Hackanooga, Chattanooga’s original and largest hackathon, returns May 31-June 1. Presented by Easy Designs in partnership with The Enterprise Center, Open Chattanooga and Mozilla, the 48-hour event will provide civic-minded designers and developers with the opportunity to use Chattanooga’s unique gigabit network to meet education and workforce development needs.

This year’s hackathon also coincides with the National Day of Civic Hacking, an international event whose mission is to "improve our communities and the governments that serve them," a sentiment that aligns perfectly with Hackanooga’s mission to "provide a fun, energizing atmosphere for technologists to create applications with transformative potential."

“Hackanooga is a great chance for the city of Chattanooga to gather together around building a more open community, all in partnership with an international movement of citizens owning their governments,” said Daniel Ryan, co-captain of the Open Chattanooga Brigade.

The first Hackanooga drew over 65 designers and developers to The Church on Main for two days of hacking on nine different projects that tested the power of "the Gig." Out of that event, several projects went on to apply for a grant through the Mozilla Ignite Challenge and two projects—engage3D and Big Blue Button—were funded.

"The skill and passion demonstrated by our local designers, developers, and community activists over the course of a weekend was truly inspirational," said Kelly McCarthy, partner at Easy Designs and Hackanooga Organizer. "The first event exceeded our expectations, and we're excited to see what this year's Hackanoogans can do!"

Ideas generated during Hackanooga could evolve into submissions for the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund, which will be offering $90,000 worth of grants in June to help apps pilot their programs in Chattanooga.

“Hackanooga is a wonderful opportunity for both funded Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund project teams and potential summer applicants to advance their work through a weekend of coding, collaboration, and community.  I’m thrilled to see how projects developed at Hackanooga will translate into proposals for the June 13 summer application deadline,” said Lindsey Frost Cleary, community catalyst for the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund in Chattanooga.

Hackanooga’s organizers have positioned the event as a potential continuation track for projects developed during CO.LAB’s recent 48-Hour Launch, which shared the focus on education and workforce development, and PEF's new Teacherprenuer program. Projects that got their start in these programs will have the opportunity to draw more talent and resources to their teams in an effort to turn their apps ideas into actual software and living programs.

"Our goal is to maximize the impact of our collective efforts to benefit Chattanooga's students and workforce," said Kelly McCarthy. "If Hackanooga can supply the environment (and caffeine) that fuels even one imaginative team to positively impact our community, then we've accomplished something amazing."

Hackanooga is free and everyone is welcome, but space is limited, so those interested are urged to register early at hackanooga.com.

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