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Think you have the next great business idea? Does computer coding fascinate you?

Tech-Prize will give you a chance to win up to $80,000 in scholarships and cash prizes. It’s open to anybody, even middle or high school students.

The inaugural Tech-Prize competition runs from Sept. 10 through Sept. 18 throughout host locations in the downtown Racine area. Two of the three competitions are open to the public and students are encouraged to participate.

Expert or beginner, the Code-A-Thon competition is your chance to build your skill. Sponsored by Gateway Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, winners will receive scholarship prizes and mentoring.

The event runs from Friday to Saturday, Sept. 10 to 11 on Gateway’s Racine campus. Six-person teams will code against creating a “Smart City” solution referred to as a “food desert.” Teams will include novice and experienced coders. The objective will be to provide a way to connect food resources with people in need, using technology. All levels of skills are encouraged to participate.  The final presentations will be presented from noon to 3 p.m. and the winners will be selected by a panel of judges.

The coding competition seeks to bring our community together to teach these skills and solve the problems we need to solve.

Mentors are also sought to rotate among the teams to teach and help solve problems.  If you would to be a Code-a-Thon mentor, email mentoring@tech-prize.org 

To sign up for the Code-a-Thon, click on this link and a Tech-Prize member will contact you.

The Idea Competition will feature contestants showcasing their idea in area businesses. The public will view and vote on their favorite ideas. Winners will receive cash prizes, mentoring and assistance in taking their idea to market, and even introductions to potential investors.

The goal of the idea competition is to create or find ideas that can actually be implemented in our communities. Doing this can fundamentally change the future for both the inventor and the community.

The competition will run from Sept. 11 to 18.  A voting App will be downloaded for viewing of the ideas and voting for your favorites. To get more information or register for the idea competition, go to this link.

The third event is a Pitch Competition, a vetted competition for people who have a product or idea they feel is ready to market. All ideas submitted will be reviewed by judges and the top 10 will be invited to pitch their idea Sept. 18 from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. at the Racine Library.

The goal of the Pitch competition is to connect talented entrepreneurs with the investors who will be judging the competition. Prizes and mentoring will be available to the winners. Seating is limited due to ongoing COVID restrictions.  All interested parties are encouraged to attend in person or watch the live stream that will be available.  More information can be found here.

The Tech-Prize team is working with leading regional educational partners to establish an outstanding area to visit during Party on the Pavement.  The space will be situated at the north end of Monument Square.

The objective of this space is to give innovators and the public the opportunity to engage and learn about technologies.

Partnering with us that day will be Racine Public Library Innovation Center,  RUSD Academy Leaders, Gateway Technical College Fab Lab, and UW Parkside and Carthage College Technical teams.  The space will be open from 12 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. during the Party on the Pavement session.  Formal presentations will occur when the music is not playing. 

The culmination of the Tech-Prize 2021 event will take place on Monument Square, main stage, from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18. Winners of the Pitch competition will be announced and prizes for the Idea and Code-a-Thon will be presented.

The Tech-Prize schedule can be found here https://www.tech-prize.org/schedule/.

Here is some more background information

The Tech-Prize Process and competition is designed to deliver on five primary objectives:

  1. Create or find great ideas that can be launched in our general community
  2. Create a process to launch those ideas
  3. Provide the “Special Sauce” education that innovators need to make these things happen
  4. Connect the resources required to make ideas reality
  5. Have a great time celebrating individuals, teams and success!

In doing so we will provide a number of critical resources that entrepreneur needs to succeed. In addition to mentors and access to skill sets needed, we also provide Tech-shop and Biz-shop sessions to provide educational training and experience.

Public participation is a huge part of this.  Public votes will be a big part of determining the winners of the Idea and Pitch competition.  Our goal is to get people to visit downtown, see great ideas, support innovators and shop at our host business locations.  Have a cup of coffee or other beverage, have a meal, do some shopping, meet with friends, rally around, and talk about technology and the Entrepreneurial Spirit that is Racine’s legacy.

In addition to the three competitions, the Racine Public Library is working with Tech-Prize to host a series of Biz-Shops – which are educational sessions specific to the skills needed to launch ideas into real businesses.  All innovators, educators, students, business professionals, and the general public are welcome and encouraged to attend.  The sessions will be live for the first 70 registrants and also streamed online for those not able to be physically present. 

You can find more information on these at www.tech-prize.org/events/.

We need all of us working together to build the future of this community and region. Here’s to Innovation!

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