Robert Putnam, in his seemingly ubiquitous work, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, portends that a society that is increasingly reliant on technology results in an erosion of social capital and community connectivity. With the rise of Civic Technology, technologies that allow private citizens to connect with each other and public officials to crowdsource solutions to compelling community issues, no prediction could have been more wrong; communities are now more connected than ever.
Just about two-thirds of American Adults have become prolific users of smartphones and other smart technologies, giving entrepreneurs across the country an incredible opportunity to harness the collective power of smartphones to advance the public good. However, opportunity and interest doesn’t necessarily equal progress, and there is lots of work that needs to be done in order to create a culture more keen on supporting civic tech innovation. Enter the Microsoft Scholarship for Civic Innovation.
At MassChallenge, we’re incredibly excited to once again leverage the incredible network and support Microsoft offers in order to identify the next big venture in the civic tech space.
What Startups Are MassChallenge and Microsoft Looking For?
We’re looking for game-changing ideas like MC Alum Agora, which lowers the barrier to participate in the political process by offering unprecedented access to public officials, or CityTaps, which seeks to ensure there is running water available in every home by creating an app that lets those with limited access to capital pay for water at any time, reducing the risk and costs of non-payment and collections for utilities.
If you’re an entrepreneur that is driven to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to make interacting with your neighbors a little easier, to create technology to make engaging with public resources a little less painful; to revitalize communities with tools to enhance communication, then don’t hesitate to apply to MassChallenge.
MassChallenge is the ideal testing ground for the early-stage entrepreneur that has just an inkling of a big idea. As the most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet, we’re obsessed with helping entrepreneurs win by providing free office space, access to mentors and community partners, and inclusion in a network of 835+ alumni who have created 6,500+ jobs — all with no equity taken at any time.
Civic Tech entrepreneurs: don’t bowl alone — turn your dream of a connected world into reality and apply to MassChallenge today for a chance to work with organizations like Microsoft and put your startup on the path to global impact: masschallenge.org/apply