Tag: 80/20 Foundation

3 Day Startup at Geekdom Nurtures New Entrepreneurs

Founder of Silicon Hills News

Stephanie King with the rest of the Spotduct team at 3 Day Startup San Antonio

Stephanie King with the rest of the Spotduct team at 3 Day Startup

Stephanie King attended a 3 Day Startup program at Geekdom in San Antonio last weekend with an idea for a company.

“I quickly realized I needed more focus,” she said.

Instead of pitching her idea, King joined Spotduct, a startup focused on creating short videos for brands tied to a prize for consumers who watch them.

Spotduct, a four-person team led by Will Shipley, produced a 30 second video promoting Hint water. At the end, viewers were asked how many bottles of Hint appeared in the video. Those who got the correct answer, 11, won a prize. The Spotduct team plans to build an online interactive video platform by earning revenue from pay per click video quizzes tied to the videos they create.

“It was a good experience because it taught me what it takes to pitch our idea to investors,” King said. “We also worked on an idea under pressure and we had to create a viable product in a weekend. That’s a skill set you can’t get anywhere else.”

Spotduct was one of seven startups that spun out of 3 Day Startup on Film, Music and Fashion last weekend. The 80/20 Foundation funded the program. It’s one in a series of thematic 3DS programs held at Geekdom, the coworking and technology incubator downtown.

More than 40 people participated in the weekend bootcamp to create a company. The other teams included Jukebox, a subscription music box, Dreamland, family friendly events focused on the arts, Syndicated Video Network Television, branded Internet-based TV channels, Noiiz, a marketplace for musicians to sell their creations, Puro Pinche, a mobile events calendar focused on San Antonio, and Campfire, a video storytelling site.

On Sunday, the teams pitched before a panel of judges who asked questions and provided feedback on their ventures.

The Jukebox team at 3 Day Startup

The Jukebox team at 3 Day Startup

The Jukebox team wants to provide a monthly subscription based box that gives people a novel way to experience music. The box would contain a promotional CD from an independent musician along with band swag such as T-shirts, guitar picks and more.

The idea is similar to Barkbox and Birchbox and other subscription-based models. The team included Tim Slusher, Candyce Slusher, Cynthia Marshall, Hannah Zhoa and Sean Mcleod. The box is aimed at the 16 to 30 year old age group. Each box is estimated to cost $15.

Jukebox expects to send out its first boxes by August, said Candyce Slusher.

The Puro Pinche team built an entertainment events calendar site optimized for mobile viewing.

Stephanie Guerra, founder of Puro Pinche

Stephanie Guerra, founder of Puro Pinche

Stephanie Guerra launched the blog Puro Pinche in June of 2010 and now she’s looking to expand the site and monetize it.

Nic Jones, Greg Vallejo and Miles Terracina worked with Guerra to create the mobile events site.

“I’m a Geekdom member,” Guerra said. “I’ve seen startups come and go out of Geekdom. I wanted to be a part of it and see how my company could grow.”
Vallejo is a student at CodeUp at Geekdom.

“I came to this wanting to plug into the entrepreneurial community in San Antonio,” he said.

The team behind Syndicated Video Network Television wants to tap into the city’s rich broadcasting history to create streaming online TV channels, said Luke Horgan, its founder. He created an example of a San Antonio channel at Purosa.snvtv.com.

“The next generation of TV could be created here,” Horgan said.

Brewing New Tech Startups at UTSA

BsN7NIzCAAAGneuA can ban on the Comal River in New Braunfels prompted a University of Texas at San Antonio engineering team to create a solution.

They created the PalmKeg, a mini-keg sized insulated beer cooler to make transporting beer on the river easy.

“It’s the perfect eco-friendly beer container,” said Amber Ernst, senior at UTSA majoring in entrepreneurship and art.

The team created a prototype of the product and plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign in August, said Nic Villarreal, who graduates at the end of the summer with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. The device also serves as a vacuum-insulated growler and the team has talked with independent brewers about selling it, Villarreal said. The device is expected to retail at $99.

BsN7JQNCQAAIm9sThe PalmKeg team consists of Ernst, Villarreal, Peter Mancuso, who graduated with a B.S. in mechanical engineering earlier this year and Bradley Tanton, an entrepreneurship business major who graduates in the fall.

The team pitched their idea at Geekdom last Wednesday as part of the conclusion of a summer entrepreneurship class offered for the first time by UTSA. Anita Leffel, assistant director of the Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship, fashioned the six-week class after the popular 3 Day Startup program, spun out of the University of Texas at Austin. Nine students participated in the class.

“The best products come from a true need and a market and product fit,” Leffel said.

The UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship turns out about 15 to 20 entrepreneurial ventures annually, Leffel said. CITE, led by director Cory Hallam, creates a pipeline for students, faculty and businesses to develop new technology ventures.

The eight-year-old program recently landed $300,000 worth of funding from Rackspace’s Graham Weston’s 80/20 Foundation. And it received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. That NSF funding designates UTSA as an Innovation Corps Site. It’s the first university in Texas to receive that designation from the NSF.

That funding will allow CITE to provide each student startup in its program with seed stage funding to allow them to prototype their products and provide capital to get them to the proof of concept stage, Leffel said.

The $300,000 grant from the 80/20 Foundation spans three years and is focused on creating more startup companies for San Antonio, said Lorenzo Gomez, the foundation’s executive director.
CITE’s programs include the semiannual $100K Student Technology Venture Competition and the Technology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp.

One of the grand prizewinners of the 2014 CITE competition recently moved into Geekdom, the technology incubator and coworking center located in the Rand building downtown.

The support for CITE is about connecting the different parts of San Antonio’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, Gomez said. CITE is doing a great job of showing students how they can become entrepreneurs, he said.

“There’s a high likelihood the next Rackspace will come out of CITE’s program,” Gomez said.

Geekdom supports the CITE startups by providing them with a discount on membership and office space, Gomez said. But the grant from the 80/20 Foundation is for the CITE to use to support the program, he said.

UTSA appointed Teja Guda, biomedical engineering assistant professor of research, as another assistant director of CITE. The program also plans to hire a full-time program coordinator in the next few months.
So far, more than 500 students at UTSA have competed in CITE’s technology business competition. That has resulted in 80 new ventures.

“Several past competition winners have established startup companies, secured funding, hired CEOs and are on their way toward commercial success,” according to a UTSA news release. “The center also fosters the more than 100 student-owned businesses on campus in the Roadrunner Business Incubator.”

CodeHS Turns Kids Into Coders

Founder of Silicon Hills News

Students who excelled at the inaugural CodeHS program at Highlands High School.

Students who excelled at the inaugural CodeHS program at Highlands High School.

In the first CodeHS program at Highlands High School this year, Ernest Rodriguez learned to program a computer and to do animation.

“I saw the opportunity and I took advantage of it,” said Rodriguez, a freshman.

Now he wants to be a computer programmer and work at Rackspace Hosting some day, he said.

Rodriguez not only completed the program, but also excelled at it, said Chelsey Cook, CodeHS coordinator at Highlands. The students earn points for completing coursework. They expected students to earn about 100 points by the end of the year. Rodriguez earned more than 600 points.

On Tuesday, Rodriguez and 27 other students, the outstanding performers in the class from Highlands, took a field trip to Rackspace to tour the high tech campus in San Antonio. They also gave a brief presentation demonstrating some of the skills they learned in the program.

This past school year, the entire freshman class at Highlands High School, more than 450 students, in the San Antonio Independent School District, participated in CodeHS, a web-based platform to teach kids to code. Rackspace Hosting’s Chairman Graham Weston’s 80/20 Foundation provided a grant to fund the program.

The coursework teaches the students how to write their own code through interactive games, which then progress into more complex projects and lessons. The program includes dozens of tutorial videos and hands on training.

“I learned that even if there’s something wrong with your computer, you can fix it and understand it,” said Lucinda Angel, a freshman at Highlands. “I feel so connected to the computer.“

For many people, understanding computers is difficult, Angel said.

“But since we’ve been working on it all year, I understand its language now,” she said.

Angel wants to be a lawyer and she’s hoping she can get a job working for Rackspace.

“I’m not a geek or anything,” she said. “But geeks rule.”

CodeHS motivated the students and expanded their horizons, said Joan Jackson, CodeHS teacher.
“This exposed them to so much more,” Jackson said.

A lot of students’ talents came out during CodeHS, said Cook, the program’s coordinator. Some of the students who got average grades in other courses, excelled in CodeHS, she said. And the computer programming coursework helped complement what the students learned in other classes like math and science, she said.

The CodeHS program lets students work at their own pace, Cook said. It also prepares them for college and for the workforce for computer programming jobs that are in demand.

“If they don’t get exposure in high school, they are less likely to know about those opportunities when they get in college,” she said.

Next year, the students who have gone through the program will take advanced computer programming and will serve as mentors to the freshman taking the Code HS course, Cook said.

“We really strongly believe in the model that CodeHS has set up,” said Daniel Sherrill, spokesman with Rackspace.

“We’re looking for ways for our Rackers to further engage with the kids,” Sherrill said.
Rackspace is also interested in applying the CodeHS model to others schools in San Antonio, Sherrill said.

“Anything that is creating that future talent pipeline is something Rackspace is interested in,” he said.
In June, Rackspace will host a high school hackathon with more than 500 students. It’s inviting kids from CodeHS to participate in the hackathon, Sherrill said.

“It’s an opportunity for students to connect with other students from all over who are passionate about code,” Sherrill said.

“We are thrilled with our partnership with San Antonio ISD and Highlands High School,” said Scott Meltzer, deputy director with the 80/20 Foundation. The San Antonio CodeHS program is the second largest in the country, he said.

The CodeHS program will continue next year in a “targeted and focused manner” with about 150 freshman and sophomore students at Highlands High School, Meltzer said. The program focuses on preparing the students to enter a job-training program like Cloud Academy or CodeUp in San Antonio or to go on to pursue a college degree, he said.

The CodeHS program is directly connected to San Antonio’s workforce needs, Meltzer said.

“It’s the next step on their pathway to pursuing high tech jobs in San Antonio,” Meltzer said.

UTSA Hosts the Open BigCloud Symposium

Founder of Silicon Hills News

BnC9n-kCYAA9gdwSome of the biggest trends in technology today are the cloud, a fancy name for data centers, and big data, the massive bits and bytes of information flowing through those data centers.

At the University of Texas at San Antonio, more than 100 people met Wednesday to discuss hardware, software and networks around those topics at the first Open BigCloud Symposium.

“This is about the future of cloud computing and big data,” said UTSA President Ricardo Romo.

He compared the ideas and innovation around the Open Cloud environment to Detroit during its heyday of the automotive industry.

“A collision of ideas that’s what’s going to happen here,” he said.

Romo also cut the ribbon to officially open the UTSA Open Compute Project Certification and Solutions Laboratory. The only other lab of its kind is in Taiwan.

Frank Frankovsky, president and chairman of the Open Compute Project Foundation, praised the project.

“There are incredibly innovative people in the state of Texas driving the industry forward,” he said.

The two-day Open BigCloud Symposium features more than 20 speakers in the HEB University Center Ballroom at the UTSA main campus. Most of it is highly technical with sessions like “Using ZeroVM and Swift to Build a Compute Enabled Storage Platforms” and “Composable Rack Scale Archecture Storage.” But some of the sessions address universal issues facing the technology industry like the shortage of women in technology and fostering entrepreneurship.

In 2012, Rackspace hosted the Open Compute Summit and hosted more than 500 people involved in the Open Compute Project, which Frankovsky and his team launched at Facebook in 2011. The project’s goal focuses on creating the most efficient computer hardware and software for data center. Major players like Facebook, Rackspace, Hewlett Packard, Dell and Microsoft back the project.

The Open Compute Project is driven by collaboration, contributions and consumption or the adoption of the technology by industry, Frankovsky said.

UTSA is becoming a nationally recognized hub of innovation in the Cloud and big data technology, said Lorenzo Gomez, director of the 80/20 Foundation and Geekdom.

The 80/20 Foundation has donated more than $4 million in endowed partnerships in cloud computing technology to UTSA, Gomez said.

The research, the academia and industry coming together at UTSA is extremely important said John Engates, Rackspace’s Chief Technology Officer.

“We at Rackspace believe open is supercritical,” Engates said.

Open and collaborative environments help companies innovate faster, Engates said. It also means freedom. It also allows people to do their work remotely easily, he said. An open environment also allows companies to share the risks and rewards of research and development and innovation, he said.

“Getting people on a bobsled together and going in together I think that’s supercritical,” he said.

In 2010, Rackspace and NASA jointly created the OpenStack , an open source cloud software. Today, Rackspace runs the largest OpenStack cloud in the world today, Engates said.

Join a Special 3 Day Startup Focused on Cyber Security in San Antonio

unnamed-1Did you know San Antonio has the second largest concentration of cyber security professionals outside of the Washington, D.C. area?

The bulk of them are at the National Security Agency’s (also nicknamed as No Such Agency) Texas Cryptology Center. The NSA leased and renovated the old Sony chip manufacturing plant in 2005 and was expected to hire as many as 1,500 workers. The NSA’s facility has two buildings for a total of 475,000 square feet, including a data center.

Even before the NSA, San Antonio had deep roots in the cyber security field with the U.S. Air Force Intelligence Agency at Lackland, nicknamed Security Hill and the University of Texas at San Antonio recognized by the NSA as a center for academic excellence in information assurance education.

So it just made sense for the first Cyber Security 3 Day Startup to take place in San Antonio. 3DS selects 45 people to participate in the weekend long program in which the group breaks up into teams and form startups, create a prototype and then pitch their companies. The 80/20 Foundation is sponsoring the Cyber Security 3 Day Startup.

The Cyber Security 3 Day Startup is now recruiting “passionate individuals with an entrepreneurial drive, including Computer Science (PhD, MS, undergraduate) MBAs, law students, graphic designers, PR, business undergraduates, etc” to participate in its program to be held May 23rd through May 25th at the old Geekdom on the 11th floor of the Weston Centre.

To apply for the program, please visit Cyber Security 3 Day Startup.

3 Day Startup Green Tech in San Antonio Sprouts Startups

Founder of Silicon Hills News

Rohit Saxena and Eric Nordstrom with xxx, want to make biodegradable bowls and plates from leaves.

Rohit Saxena and Eric Nordstrom with Sukhiware, biodegradable bowls and plates from leaves.

Growing up in India, Rohit Saxena often used biodegradable bowls and plates made from leaves.

When he moved to the U.S., he couldn’t believe how many disposable paper and plastic dishes get tossed into the trash and landfills every day.

Saxena’s team at 3 Day Startup Green Tech in San Antonio last weekend, came up with a solution: Sukhiware, biodegradable plates and bowls made from a variety of leaves, like banana leaves.

Sukhiware and three other green tech startups pitched ideas Sunday night along with three nonprofit organizations to a panel of judges, investors and others at Geekdom at the Weston Centre. Sukhiware even created samples and brought them to show at their presentation. For market research, they met with local restaurateurs to find out if they would use the products. They came away with a pre-order for 50 bowls.

“The need is so obvious,” Saxena said. He showed a picture in his presentation of the streets of San Antonio littered with trash following the Fiesta Battle of the Flowers parade.

The first 3 Day Startup Green Tech began Friday night with individuals forming teams around ideas and the nonprofit organizations working on entrepreneurial projects. During the program, some of the teams brought sleeping bags and tents and camped out. It’s like an entrepreneurial bootcamp. They met, shared meals and snacks, pivoted, did market research, built prototypes and pitched their ventures all in one weekend.

“I’m surprised the green tech tribe is as big as it is,” said Lorenzo Gomez, executive director of the 80/20 Foundation, which funded the program and plans to finance a series of thematic 3 Day Startups targeted at particular industries. It did a 3DS on the performing arts industry in February and four of the six teams are still pursuing their ideas, Gomez said. The next 3 Day Startup is in May on Cyber security.

“You get super passionate people participating,” he said.

As a result, more targeted and better ideas come out of the industry-specific 3 Day Startups, he said. The goal is for these teams to take their ideas and run with them, Gomez said. The 80/20 Foundation plans to give scholarships to some teams to enter the CleanTech Open, a national accelerator that runs the world’s largest business competition for clean tech entrepreneurs.

Jeremiah Donohue, project manager for 3 Day Startup Green

Jeremiah Donohue, project manager for 3 Day Startup Green Tech

Thirty people participated in 3 Day Startup Green Tech, most came from San Antonio but a few people drove in from Austin, said Jeremiah Donohue, its project manager. Four successful entrepreneurs also volunteered as mentors to help the startups throughout the weekend.

“This was the first time we brought nonprofits and individuals together,” Donohue said. “A lot of the nonprofits had a lot of experience. So there was this great collaboration and cross pollination going on.”

The nonprofit organizations want to find sustainable sources of new revenue for their organizations, Donohue said. The program helps them to think like entrepreneurs.

Lanny Sinkin, executive director of Solar San Antonio, presenting SolarBus SA

Lanny Sinkin, executive director of Solar San Antonio, presenting SolarBus SA

That was the takeaway for Lanny Sinkin, executive director of Solar San Antonio.

“This is a wonderful service for nonprofits,” Sinkin said. “It’s addressing a critical need.”

When Sinkin arrived at 3 Day Startup Green Tech on Friday, he attended a special session geared to nonprofit organizations. He came away with 17 ideas. He took those back to his staff and they ended up with 26 ideas. They eventually narrowed it down to one idea, the SolarBus SA, geared after the Geekbus, an educational bus focused on teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Math applications to students.

The SolarBus SA is an education and marketing vehicle for Solar San Antonio. The bus will run on biodiesel or will be an electric bus that can hook into a solar charger, he said.

Solar San Antonio needs to raise $100,000 to make the project a reality.

And the opportunity for solar in San Antonio is enormous, he said.

Bexar County has 600,000 residential rooftops. Forty percent of those can install solar panels. At a cost of $10,000 per rooftop, that’s a $2.4 billion business, according to Sinkin.

Green Spaces Alliance pitching its cookbook and app tied to locally grown food

Green Spaces Alliance pitching its cookbook and app tied to locally grown food

Another nonprofit organization, Green Spaces Alliance, pitched a cookbook with an affordable collection of seasonal recipes with ties to locally produced food from community gardens. It also wants to create an app for consumers.

During its market research, Green Spaces Alliance found almost everyone they interviewed had some issue with getting fresh local produce to his or her plate.

“Some people love to garden but they don’t know how to cook,” said Nadia Gaona with Green Spaces Alliance. “Others love to eat, but they don’t know how to grow their own food or where to get fresh local produce from.’’

The Green Spaces Alliance cookbook would also include stories about local gardens and gardeners, Gaona said. The organization works with 38 community gardens and 200 gardeners in San Antonio. The book would also include seed paper inserts to pull out and allow people to plant in their own gardens. The app would include seasonal guides on what to plant and when.

The third nonprofit organization to present, San Antonio 2030 District, which launched in January, focuses on getting property owners to use its palette of services to reduce energy costs. It has 11 property owners signed up so far, said Pegy Brimhall.

Its goal is to launch the District Games, a program with gaming strategies and competition among property owners in the downtown areas, to reduce energy costs and improve efficiency. Right now, 1,100 property owners are in the district and the goal is to get them all signed up to participate in the District Games, Brimhall said.

“We want this to be scalable,” she said.

After successfully building the platform in one district, the goal is to roll out the program citywide, she said.

The team behind District2030

The team behind 2030 District

The 2030 District participated in the 3 Day Startup to diversify its funding support into more entrepreneurial activities, Brimhall said.

“I’m an entrepreneur,” she said. “I wanted to get the nonprofit to start thinking that way. Just because we’re a nonprofit doesn’t mean we can’t generate revenue for ourselves.”

One of the startups, Green Nexus pitched an online matchmaking service for green tech startups and investors.

“The number one problem that green tech startups have is finding funding,” said Kelley McGill with Green Nexus.

Existing sites such as AngelList don’t provide enough information to investors for them to assess the risk level of the startups, McGill said. More than 1,000 startups are currently listed as green tech startups on AngelList, she said.

The team behind Green Nexus

The team behind Green Nexus

The Green Nexus team of Umair Khakoo, UT Austin, Miles Lilly, St. Mary’s University and McGill of Trinity University all met at 3 Day Startup. They want to make it easy for investors to find the best green tech investments by providing an assessment of each startup by experts. That assessment will create an overall view of the risk level of the startup, McGill said. The team also plans to apply for the CleanTech Open.

JSA Energy proposed a real time energy analytics dashboard to monitor buildings to save energy and money.

Shihlin Lu with JSA Energy with her "Gold Red Bull Award" for Good Citizenship

Shihlin Lu with JSA Energy with her team’s “Gold Red Bull Award” for Good Citizenship

Buildings constitute 40 percent of U.S. energy consumption.

Its energy dashboard and smart meters could help a commercial building owner save $1,700 a year in energy costs and cut carbon emissions by two-thirds, said Shihlin Lu, University of Texas at San Antonio junior studying environmental science.

It’s also applying for the CleanTech Open.

“This is the second 3 Day Startup I’ve participated in but I was really excited that it was focused on clean energy and sustainability,” she said. “I don’t think I would have accomplished this much if it wasn’t so focused.”

The team behind gaiah met at 3 Day Startup Green Tech and came up with an idea for a gamification app to reward consumers for buying green products and doing good deeds to benefit the environment. It makes money from direct ads to green consumers, product analytics and through the sponsorship of micro challenges to motivate people to do good things for the environment.

The gaiah team of Alex Maingot, Nic Jones, Michelle Kafir, Eduardo Bravo plans to apply for the CleanTech Open and to continue to pursue the idea.

The green products market is a $500 billion market, Maingot said. Today, 108 million Americans identify themselves as buying green products. The startup is looking for a $100,000 investment and a mentor to bring their app to the marketplace, Maingot said.

During the program, the gaiah team went to the Farmer’s Market to talk to people about their idea. And they talked with a chef who owns two restaurants and buys ingredients locally. They got a lot of positive feedback.

Alex Maingot pitching gaiah

Alex Maingot pitching gaiah

Suz Burroughs, director of the Harvey Najim Center for Business Innovation and Social Responsibility at St. Mary’s University, served as a judge for the pitching competition.

The teams pitched some great ideas, she said.

“I love challenging the teams to think bigger and to not ignore their blind spots,” Burroughs said.
One of the issues a lot of nonprofits have is an aging supporter base so the more entrepreneurial they can become, the better able they are to be self-sustaining, she said. But some of the teams underestimate how much it’s going to cost to bring their ideas to market, she said.

“I’m always really fascinated by how inexpensive people think it is to develop big platform technologies. They are like oh yeah, it costs $10,000 or $50,000 and I’m like where are you shopping? There are always these gaps.”

Code for America Coming to San Antonio

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Code for AmericaThe City of San Antonio is now one of only 10 U.S. city governments chosen for the national Code for America program. Its status as a fellowship city was announced last week at the annual Code for America Summit.
A national nonprofit organization, Code for America works to create better citizen-government interactions and improve city services though a technologist volunteer program similar in structure to the Peace Corp. Each year the organization chooses 10 cities and around 30 technologist fellows to work in those cities. This January, three of those fellows will travel to San Antonio to begin work on one of several proposed initiatives to improve the citizens of San Antonio’s relationship with their local government.
“We are excited to partner with Code for America and welcome the fellows to San Antonio,” Mayor Julian Castro said in a city press release. “I look forward to the work that the fellows will produce to improve on the quality of services the city provides. This partnership will strengthen the city’s competitiveness as a technology and innovation hub.”
Code for America will announce San Antonio’s assigned technology volunteers in November. The fellows will work closely with San Antonio Chief Technology Officer Hugh Miller and Assistant IT Director Kevin Goodwin – going through a research phase in January and choosing their project by February. Two proposals are currently being considered.
The first initiative is to create a database on every address in the city that will display all relevant services or events that occurred at that point. This would include city services performed at the location – such as road work, solid waste disposal stats, and water services – as well as all the permits requested and crimes committed at the address. This will enable citizens to make informed decisions on whether to buy a house, locate a business, develop a property, or do anything else at any address in the city.
The second initiative will create a website that ties together all the volunteer opportunities in San Antonio so that citizens would be able to log on at one place and become more involved in the city. A database connected to the site will allow the city to monitor and better use volunteer resources by ensuring that the right number of volunteers are working on each project and that they have all the resources they need to complete their job.
Miller had already been communicating with Code for America in the 10 months leading up to the announcement and said that Code for America had been considering San Antonio for a long time. He sees it as a great way to get new talented technologists into government – an area they typically avoid.
“How do you make government appealing to talent? That’s one of the things this program does is you take this talent, you engage them into civic opportunities, and let them get a feel for what it takes to run and manage government and citizen services,” Miller said.
To be considered, every applying city must both pay $180,000 and receive a matching amount from the community. San Antonio’s 80/20 Foundation is financing the other $180,000 and will continue to support the project by connecting the fellows with additional partners and resources The money will pay the fellows’ living expenses and go towards the chosen initiative for the city. The 80/20 Foundation’s Executive Director Lorenzo Gomez believes that acceptance into the program is a huge step for the city.
“I think that being accepted into Code for America changes the brand of our city,” Gomez said. “It says we are an innovative city, that we are looking for new ways to run government business, and it portrays the image we want to the rest of the world which is: We embrace the new talent economy and embrace using new innovative technologies to change city government. It is yet another reason that San Antonio is a city on the rise.”

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