TechTown named Detroit host for Erie Hack water innovation competition

TechTown Detroit has been named the Detroit host for Erie Hack, an international, tech-driven water innovation competition and accelerator program. TechTown will launch the months-long series of events with an Erie Hack Challenge Kickoff on February 23 from 5-8 p.m. at TechTown, 440 Burroughs, Detroit.

Erie Hack will bring together coders, developers, engineers and water experts to generate creative solutions to challenges facing the Lake Erie watershed. The competition focuses on creating publicly accessible mobile apps, open data and new technology to elevate the value of clean water and leverage its potential to drive the economic vitality of the Great Lakes region. Other participating cities are Buffalo, Cleveland, Erie, Toledo and Windsor.

The Challenge Kickoff will provide details on the competition and acceleration process. The Kickoff and additional meetups will provide opportunities to form teams of up to five, who will then work to create innovative hardware or software technology through a series of day-long Hacking Events in each city.

On April 13, teams will convene at TechTown for the Erie Hack Semifinals, where a panel of judges will select the top eight teams from all participating cities to advance to the finals in Cleveland. After two weeks of intensive iteration, the finalists will compete for $100,000 in prize money as they present their solutions at the Erie Hack Water Innovation Summit on May 2 and 3, 2017.

“There is a meaningful role for tech entrepreneurs to play in the blue economy,” says Paul Riser, TechTown’s managing director for technology-based entrepreneurship. “Erie Hack will enable TechTown and our partners in New York, Ohio and Ontario to support some of the best and brightest ideas out there, both during the event and after, as we support teams in moving promising solutions forward.”

Each team will address one of six challenge statements or water-related problems, which were developed during regional ideation sessions and are described in detail on the Erie Hack web site:

1. Mitigate Nutrient Loading and Its Environmental Impacts
2. Reduce and Remediate Urban Pollution
3. Cultivate Resilience in Water Infrastructure Systems
4. Manage Aging Water Infrastructure Systems
5. Connect Communities to the Value of Water
6. Drive the Creation of Meaningful Data

“We’re looking forward to officially launching this competition, which we believe will spark brilliant ideas around water innovation that can be implemented throughout the Lake Erie basin,’’ says Bryan Stubbs, executive director of the Cleveland Water Alliance, which is managing the event in collaboration with DigitalC. The Detroit events are presented in partnership with Wayne State University and supported by a grant from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.

For more information, to register and to view the full schedule of events, visit eriehack.io.

To register for the Detroit Kickoff Challenge event, visit challengekickoff.eventbrite.com.