Hack for microbusiness on the National Day of Civic Hacking - Technical.ly DC

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May 24, 2016 10:15 am

Hack for microbusiness on the National Day of Civic Hacking

This event is a partnership between Code for America, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Chief and Microsoft.
Hack for D.C.’s microbusinesses at this June 4 event.

Hack for D.C.'s microbusinesses at this June 4 event.

(Photo by Flickr user rachaelvoorhees, used under a Creative Commons license)

Updated with comments from Code for America and Code for DC. (5/24/16, 11:07 a.m.)

The 2016 National Day of Civic Hacking is quickly approaching — mark your calendars, if you haven’t already, for June 4. And if you haven’t decided how to commemorate the day just yet, here’s an option: Join Code for America, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Chief and Microsoft for a day focused on hacking for microbusiness.

The idea, as organizer Logan Powell told Technical.ly, is that microbusinesses — essentially really, really small businesses with five employees or fewer — face the same challenges as big businesses. The problem is they don’t have as much room for error. Can code, somehow, help microbusiness owners make smarter choices? That’s precisely what this event aims to discover.

Powell, who works for the Census Bureau, said he and his fellow organizers have spent the past two months researching various aspects of this question, and they’ll be releasing specific challenges related to it on the day of hacking.

Beyond the day itself, though, Powell wants to work toward creating a community of hackers and designers interested in exploring issues related to microbusinesses. “The day of is really just the beginning,” he said, expressing his hope that it’ll be a “launchpad” for future work.

The daylong event will be held at Chief’s offices in Dupont — organizers are looking for coders, UX’ers and small business stakeholders to attend. There’s more information here.

And yes, this event is in “competition” (timing wise, at least) with Code for DC’s National Day of Civic Hacking event. Powell claims he reached out to Code for DC to ask about collaborating, but never heard back.

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Update: 5/24/16, 11:07 a.m.

We reached out to Code for DC to hear their side of the story and got this explanation from co-captain Steven Reilly — it’s not a matter of competition, he said, rather “their event is focused on federal issues and ours is focused on local issues.” No beef, just different interests.

Indeed, Code for America brigade program manager Christopher Whitaker confirmed that, in a city like D.C., it is not unusual for there to be multiple National Day of Civic Hacking events.

“I don’t think the events compete so much as make the entire day bigger,” he wrote.

So there you have it, civic hackers. Now the choice is yours.

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