Apps for Entrepreneurs

Official Rules

Background

For most entrepreneurs and small businesses, the Federal government has useful programs and services, but it can be hard to identify, engage and navigate Federal websites.  Often, small businesses do not know that the Federal government already offers a program that they would find useful.  Entrepreneurs and small businesses need better tools to navigate the Federal government’s vast resources – including programs, services, and procurement opportunities.

The Competition Goals

The Apps for Entrepreneurs Competition (the “Competition”) is an initiative of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help make Federal government programs and information more useful to small businesses.  The Competition will provide recognition to individuals or teams of individuals for developing innovative applications designed for the Web, a personal computer, a mobile handheld device, console, or any platform broadly accessible on the open internet that utilize data which is freely available on Federal government websites.

The Apps submitted for this Competition must use data from at least one of the following sources: Small Business Administration http://www.sba.gov/api; Small Business Innovation Research Program http://www.sbir.gov/apis; Green Government Opportunities for Small Business http://green.sba.gov/apis or Data.gov www.data.gov.  

Important Dates

Submission Period: 1:00 am EST, November 5, 2011 to 11:00 pm ET, November 20, 2011

Judging Period: November 21-22, 2011

Winners Announced: November 23, 2011

How to Enter

Interested persons should read the official rules before entering the Competition.  All Contestants must submit their Apps through the Challenge.gov portal. Please note, in order to submit an App, Contestants will first need to register and create an account with Challenge.gov. Contestants will:

  1. Prior to submitting an App, register with www.challenge.gov. Registration is free
  2. From the Competition webpage on Challenge.gov http:// entrepreneurs.challenge.gov, use the “Enter a Submission” tab to submit a description of the app, outline system requirements to run the app and provide a link to a fully functioning app hosted outside of Challenge.gov. Once an App is submitted, the Contestant cannot make any changes or alterations to any part of the Submission.    
  3. After submission, all apps will be screened by SBA for malicious code or other security issues.
  4. Screened submissions will be posted on the Challenge.gov Competition webpage on a rolling basis. Apps failing to meet Submission Requirements or other Submission screenings will be deemed ineligible to win a prize.  Posting an app to the Competition website does not constitute SBA’s final determination of Contestant or the app’s eligibility.
Prizes

Seven (7) prizes are available:

Winner Quantity

1st Place: Gift Card ($5,000 value) 1

2nd Place: Gift Card ($3,000 value) 3

3rd Place: Gift Card ($2,000 value) 3

The winners of these prizes (collectively, “Winners”) will be announced on November 23, 2011.  Only one prize will be awarded for each winning submission, regardless of the number of Contestants that created on the winning app.  SBA reserves the right to substitute prizes of similar value without notice.

Judging

Judging Panels

Prior to judging, all submitted apps will be screened for Contestant eligibility, completeness of submission and malicious code.

The members of the Judging panel will be selected by SBA at its sole discretion and will be comprised of up to ten technology, small business, and entrepreneurship experts from both the public and private sectors.  Judges will be screened by SBA to ensure he/she does not: (1) have personal or financial interest in any Contestant; or (2) have a familial relationship with a Contestant.

Judging Criteria

The Judging Panel will rate each Submission approved by the screening panel on the following criteria: 

  1. Use of Required Data: Does the application use a combination of creative and relevant Federal data sets, including at least one data set from either http://www.sba.gov/apis; http://www.sbir.gov/apiswww.data.gov/apis or http://green.sba.gov/apis (25%)
  2. Technical Implementation: Is the application functional, well designed and simple to use? It is accessible to a wide range of users including those with disabilities? (25%);
  3. Mission and Impact: Does the application meet the goals of the Competition? Application will be rated on the strength of its potential to make Federal government programs and information more useful to small businesses (25%);
  4. Creativity: Is the application innovative, creative and interesting? (25%)

In the event of a tie, the SBA Administrator will select the winner.

Contestant Eligibility

The Competition is open to citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry and teams of individuals where each individual is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident at least 18 years of age (collectively referred to as “Contestants”).  Eligible Contestants may submit more than one app and/or participate on more than one team.  

Any Submissions developed with Federal funding, either grant, contract or loan proceeds are not eligible to win.  Federal employees and their immediate families, current SBA contractors and SBA grant recipients may enter the Competition but are not eligible to win.  Immediate family members includes spouses, siblings, parents, children, grandparents, and grandchildren, whether as “in-laws”, or by current or past marriage, remarriage, adoption, co-habitation or other familial extension, and any other persons residing at the same household location, whether or not related.

Submission Requirements

In order for an entry to be eligible to win this Competition, the entry must meet the following requirements:

  1. General – Contestants must host their own app during the submission and judging process and ensure SBA has continued access to the app throughout the judging process.
  2. Availability - Submissions must be free to the public during the Competition and for at least one year after.
  3. Acceptable Platforms – The app must be designed for the Web, a personal computer, a mobile handheld device, console, or any platform broadly accessible on the open internet.
  4. Data – The app must utilize Federal government data and/or information available from any publically available Federal source, though they need not include all data fields or information available in a particular resource.  Submissions must use at least one data set from any of the following resources: Small Business Administration http://www.sba.gov/apis; Small Business Innovation Research Program http://www.sbir.gov/apis; Green Government Opportunities for Small Business http://green.sba.gov/apis or Data.gov data.gov  . 
  5. Accessibility – The app must be accessible to a wide range of users, including users with disabilities (see Federal standards under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act  http://www.section508.gov/index.cfm?fuseAction=stdsdoc ).
  6. Deadlines and Modifications – All Competition submissions must be submitted through the Challenge.gov portal by November 20, 2011 at 11:59 PM ET.  Once an app is submitted through challenge.gov portal it must remain unchanged and unaltered until after the judging period.
  7. Intellectual Property – The Submission must not infringe any copyright or any other rights of any third party.
  8. No SBA logo – The app must not use SBA’s logo or official seal in the Submission, and must not claim SBA endorsement.  The award of a prize in this Competition does not constitute an endorsement of a specific product by SBA or the Federal government.
  9. Functionality/Accuracy – A Submission may be disqualified if the application fails to function as expressed in the description provided by the Contestant, or if the application provides inaccurate information.
  10. Security – Submissions must be free of malware.  Contestant agrees that SBA may screen the app to determine whether malware or other security threats may be present.  SBA may disqualify the app if, in SBA’s judgment, the app may damage government or others’ equipment or operating environment.
  11. All Competition submissions must also adhere to the Challenge.gov Standards of Conduct (http://challenge.gov/terms#standards). 

By making a Submission under this Competition, each Contestant warrants that he or she is the sole author and owner of the Submission, that the Submission is wholly original with the Contestant (or is an improved version of an existing app that the Contestant has sufficient rights to use – including the substantial improvement of existing open-source apps), and that it does not infringe any copyright or any other rights of any third party.  Each Contestant also warrants that the app is free of malware.

All tools submitted to the SBA Apps for Entrepreneurs Competition remain the intellectual property of the individuals or teams that developed them.  By registering and entering a Submission, however, the Contestant agrees that SBA reserves an irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free license to use, copy, distribute to the public, create derivative works from, and publicly display a Submission for a period of one year, starting on the date of the announcement of the Winners, and to authorize others, including the general public, to use the Submission without restriction on a royalty-free basis.  The reservation of SBA rights to authorize use of the Submission by the public includes the Contestant’s assent to SBA’s release of the application under an open-source software license, if SBA so chooses.  The Contestant agrees to execute a separate license with SBA, as appropriate, for such purposes.

Verification of Winners

Winners must continue to comply with all terms and conditions of these Official Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements contained herein.  The Winners will be notified by email by November 23, 2011. The Winner’s name(s) will also be posted on the Competition and/or SBA website.  In the event that a potential Winner is disqualified for any reason, SBA may award the applicable recognition to an alternate Contestant.  

Publicity

Participation in the Competition constitutes consent to SBA’s and its agents’ use of Competition winners’ name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, and/or hometown and state for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.  

Liability and Insurance

The Contestant shall be liable for, and shall indemnify and hold harmless the Federal government against, all action or claims, including but not limited to those for loss of or damage to property (such as damage that may results from a virus, malware, etc. to SBA computer systems or those of the end-users of the software and/or applications), resulting from the fault, negligence, or wrongful act or omission of the Contestant. 

Based on the subject matter of the Competition, the type of work that it will possibly require, and the likelihood of any claims for death, bodily injury, or property damage, or loss potentially resulting from contest participation, Contestants are not required to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate fiscal responsibility in order to participate in this Competition.

Applicable Law

This Competition is subject to all applicable Federal laws and regulations.  

Disclaimer

SBA and its agents are not responsible for:

  1. Any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by Contestants, printing errors, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Challenge;
  2. Technical failure of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software;
  3. Unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Competition;
  4. Technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Competition or the processing of entries; or
  5. Any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from Contestant’s participation in the Competition or receipt, use or misuse of any prize.

If for any reason a Contestant’s entry is confirmed to have been erroneously deleted, lost, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, Contestant’s sole remedy is another entry in the Competition. 

General Conditions

SBA reserves the right at any time, for any reason, to cancel, suspend, and/or modify the Competition, or any part of it.  

Participation constitutes each Contestant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and administrative decisions which are final and binding in all matters related to the Competition. This contest notice is not an obligation of funds; the final award of prizes is contingent upon the availability of appropriations.