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The Opportunity Project Invites Applications for 2021 Technology Development Sprints

  • The Census Bureau’s Opportunity Project is seeking participants for this year’s “technology development sprints”
  • This year’s initiative focuses on post-COVID 19 developments, including assisting small businesses in adapting to a digital economy and improving capital access for minority entrepreneurs
  • Sprints seek to develop solutions based on federal open data over a 12-week period

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Businesses, nonprofits, and others are being invited to participate in a set of “technology development sprints” overseen by the U.S. Census Bureau to address some of the nation’s most pressing concerns.

Each year, the Census Bureau’s Census Open Innovation Labs hosts The Opportunity Project. Over the course of 12 weeks, experts relying on federal open data provide input on user needs, product strategy, and the best datasets available to solve each problem. Products are launched at an annual Demo Day, after which federal agencies assist participants in scaling these developments and delivering them to users.

This year’s theme is “The World Post COVID-19: Society, Economy and Environment,” with springs taking place from August to November. Participants should contact the Census Bureau by Aug. 6 to take part.

Specific problem statements submitted by federal agencies include:

  • Analyzing Housing and Migration Trends Post-COVID 19
  • Tackling the Climate Crisis Through Climate-Smart Communities
  • Preventing Crisis for Low-Income Renters and Small Landlords
  • Analyzing Equity in Federal COVID-19 Spending
  • Improving Minority Businesses’ Access to Capital
  • Helping Small Businesses Thrive in a Digital Economy
  • Increasing Content Accessibility for Multilingual Communities

The Opportunity Project is open to numerous participants, including tech teams from companies, nonprofits, and universities; community leaders and others who have direct experience and can advocate for users who will use the products; product advisors who can assist in the development of product solutions; and data stewards who provide advice on accessing and using federal data.

Since The Opportunity Project was established in 2016, more than 1,500 people, 30 federal agencies, and hundreds of organizations have taken part in the sprints. Their efforts have developed nearly 150 new open data tools, ranging from mapping tools to games.

The Census Bureau says businesses participating in the sprints can realize benefits such as pursuing work aligned with their corporate mission, building partnerships, and beneficial public relations.

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