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Details for 1776's Challenge Festival released

1776 has released details about the Challenge Festival, the week-long, city-wide series of events to celebrate the culmination of the Challenge Cup. The festival will take place May 10–17 in various locations around the city; the global finals of the Challenge Cup itself are slated for the afternoon of Saturday, May 17, with a closing-night celebration scheduled at iStrategy Labs. Badges for admission to different parts of the festival are currently on sale.
"Our events team has been working on logistics for a while," says Donna Harris, cofounder of 1776. "We have the benefit of working with Peter [Corbett], Jen [Consalvo] and Frank [Gruber] from DCWEEK,"  the weeklong technology festival that ran from 2010-2012.
Harris and her 1776 cofounder, Evan Burfield, have spent the last four months visiting 16 international centers of innovation and have heard thousands of pitches from startups in the fields of education, health, energy and smart cities. They, along with judges in each city, have crowned winners in each field. Those regional winners—64 in all--will come to D.C. during the festival to compete for the global cup. Each vertical competes on a different day, Monday through Thursday. On Saturday, "the elite eight" (two winners from each vertical) will face off, Harris says.
In addition to the cup finals, a conference will also be held during each day of the festival. On Monday, a series of panels will set the stage for the challenges to follow. Tuesday features a discussion of the changing role of corporations, "as collaborative transparent and open vs. bureaucratic and top-down," Harris says. Wednesday is devoted to social innovation and "the blurring lines between for-profit and nonprofit entities." Thursday is an examination of capital markets, crowdfunding and how "early stage companies can become world-changing entrepreneurs." Finally, Friday's session looks at the role of government on the federal, state and local levels and "how we use policy to drive innovation."
Lest all work and no play make Jack and Jill dull entrepreneurs, the Challenge Festival will also feature plenty of time to party and network. "We're having final conversations with venues [including] embassies, ambassadors' residences and modern events venues around the city," Harris says. "We want to showcase what the District has to offer."
Harris is looking for additional community partners for the Challenge Festival. "If you are interested in hosting an event during the week, let us know," she says. "The sooner we know, the better. May will be here before we know it."

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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