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Winners of Market Bridge Challenge to be Awarded at July 21 Event

By Brendan O'Hallarn

For four months, teams of government and defense contractors, students and university faculty have competed in three events designed to test teams' abilities to provide savvy solutions to issues facing Hampton Roads.

The Market Bridge Challenge is sponsored by the Old Dominion University Center for Enterprise Innovation's (CEI) grant program GOV2COM and the Strome Entrepreneurial Center.

On Thursday, July 21, at the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, the winners of the Market Bridge Challenge will be announced, and cash prizes totaling $25,000 awarded. Register online for the event, which runs from 5-7 p.m. in room 1006 of the Visual Arts Building on the Old Dominion campus.

"The Market Bridge Challenge is the first event of its kind in Hampton Roads, and the response from participants, sponsors and judges has been outstanding," said Elizabeth Dietzmann, director of GOV2COM. "With prize-based challenges in the areas of broadband, coastal resiliency and cyber, we are showcasing the diversity of talent and entrepreneurial drive of our local businesses."

Future Market Bridge challenges are already in the planning stages, Dietzmann said.

Three separate challenge events make up the Market Bridge Challenge:

  • Scavenger Hackathon Challenge. Hosted in partnership with CPRCV.org and Trustifier Inc., this challenge requires participants to gain access to a virtual company's network undetected, to demonstrate creative thinking and spotlight the threats associated with cybersecurity, by testing how teams adapt to the company's cyber-defense activities. The winner receives an invitation to become a Trustifier Solutions partner for no fee.
  • Hillier (ignite) Broadband Challenge. This challenge requires participants to produce a "vision paper" detailing how broadband technology will make a difference in Hampton Roads. A $15,000 cash prize donated by Hillier (ignite) will be awarded to the winning team.

  • The AeroTech-Concursive Sea Level Rise Challenge Prize. Hosted in partnership with AeroTech, Concursive and Wetlands Watch, this challenge involves developing an app to run on the existing Sea Level Rise mobile app available for free on the Apple and Google Play stores. The winning team will share a $10,000 cash prize donated by AeroTech and Concursive.

Interest in the Market Bridge Challenge has come from across the East Coast and even overseas. A team of University of Miami faculty and students provided three different submissions. Other teams are comprised of city employees, military personnel, government contractors and associates of a South African business.

GOV2COM is a series of interconnected programs created through CEI and designed to help government and military contractors better understand how to do business in the private sector. It was introduced to the Hampton Roads community last fall through funding received from the Commonwealth through the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment, to offer help for companies and entrepreneurs that want to move their business beyond government contracts.

GOV2COM targets local companies that recognize government contracting, specifically military procurement, will be significantly more challenging in the years ahead. It offers assistance to businesses that face challenges moving into unfamiliar commercial markets.

Formed in 2014, CEI has built on decades of expertise at the University fusing campus to community. By bringing programs such as the Hampton Roads Veterans Business Outreach Center, Women's Business Center and Technology Applications Center under one structure, CEI helps Old Dominion fulfill its mission as a true economic engine.

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