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Innovation & Job News

1776 goes global with challenge competition

1776, the tech campus in the heart of Washington, D.C., is launching three global initiatives today: a virtual membership program, a Startup Federation initiative to create 1776-like counterparts around the world and the Global Challenge Cup, an international startup competition.
"We've wanted to pursue global initiatives since Day 1," says Donna Harris, cofounder of 1776. "1776 is a fantastic resource for startups in D.C. It [could also be] a fantastic resource for any startup in the world."
The Challenge Cup is an NCAA Final Four–style tournament in which startups from 16 different cities (D.C., New York, Boston, Chicago, Austin, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Moscow, Capetown, Tel Aviv, Mumbai, Beijing and São Paolo) compete in one of four categories: health, education, energy and metropolitan challenges. The finalists from each city in each category (64 startups in all) will come to D.C. in May 2014 to compete against each other for the cup.
"It's World Cup soccer meets the NCAA Final Four," explains Harris. The final challenge will take place during a weeklong festival 1776 is planning to host that will bring together the tech community, corporate partners, nonprofits and the government, among others.
Evan Burfield, who cofounded 1776 with Harris, says that the Global Challenge Cup is designed to use technological innovation to "tackle big challenges." 
The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development is giving $180,000 in support of the Global Challenge Cup. 1776 recently announced partnerships with Comcast and with Microsoft. Burfield says that "a whole range of global and strategic partnerships [will be announced] in the coming weeks and months."
The two other initiatives include a virtual membership for startups around the world and a program to create and partner with other tech spheres internationally. 1776's virtual membership is a new category designed for any startup with Internet to be able access to the 1776 community. Pricing and benefits are comparable to local startup membership costs. The Startup Federation will serve to "create counterparts in cities around the world," says Harris. She and Burfield want to share joint programming and best practices with startup communities in other cities.

Interested in applying for the Global Challenge Cup? Sign up for the mailing list. Burfield says that a pitching event for the D.C. region is in the works for mid-August.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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