HACK Baltimore is putting out the call for entrepreneurs to apply by July 1 to their HACK Baltimore-ETCAccelerate Challenge, which will get startups to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) by August 2020 [Update: The application deadline was extended to July 6].
The goal is to groom civic tech business teams that can potentially be selected for AccelerateBaltimore, the accelerator program that includes $50,000 in seed funding and 13 weeks of mentorship of resources that is returning with a civic tech focus in its ninth year.
The challenge comes as the citywide civic tech nonprofit HACK Baltimore and Highlandtown-based incubator ETC (Emerging Technology Centers) have reached a partnership around their shared goal of advancing digital equity. Together they want to create an ecosystem that allows innovative ideas for the improvement of neighborhoods in Baltimore to thrive and become a reality.
“Much of the initial conversations as we developed a vision for HACK Baltimore revolved around this idea of sustainability so that projects wouldn’t die after a great start,” HACK Baltimore Chair Delali Dzirasa said in a statement.
Now the HACK Baltimore-ETCAccelerate Challenge will act as an “on ramp” for the program. Two business teams developed by HACK Baltimore will be fast tracked to the pitch interview stage of AccelerateBaltimore’s application process.
“Our partnership with HACK Baltimore will provide us with expertise in civic innovation and a potential pool of vetted projects that we can then help move to scalability and sustainability,” said ETC President Deb Tillett.
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.