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Buffalo Chapter of Girl Develop It announces region's first all-female 'hackathon'


Wed, Jan 21st 2015 02:10 pm

Web competition to benefit local, nonprofit women- and minority-owned businesses

The Buffalo Chapter of Girl Develop It has announced the region's first all-female "hackathon," "GDI Hacks." The event, which will take place Saturday, Feb. 7 (8 a.m. to 9 p.m.), will be one of the first events to take place in the newly constructed 43North incubator at 640 Ellicott St., Buffalo.

During the "hackathon," teams of women developers, entrepreneurs, technologists, Web developers and marketing experts will be challenged to provide several area nonprofit, women- or minority-owned businesses with new and updated websites.

Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization created to provide affordable and accessible programs to women who want to learn Web, software and mobile application development through mentorship and hands-on instruction.

GDI Hacks is an all-day "hackathon" event and collaborative programming competition in which several teams will face off to deliver the best website in a 12-hour period. Between three to five area businesses will be selected to receive a website overhaul to improve online presence. Participants will then present their ideas to a panel of judges. Prizes will be awarded for the most innovative and useful websites.

"At Girl Develop It, we know that an outstanding Web presence can have a great impact to business. It is important to us that our 'hackathon' not only help our members hone their skills, but also helps local nonprofits or small businesses succeed. It's a win-win," said Lena Levine, founder of Girl Develop It Buffalo.

All final websites will be judged by local technical experts including Sabrina Ramsey, CEO of Insight International; Barbara Sherman, Ph.D., professor at Buffalo State College; and Marnie Lavigne, Ph.D., president and CEO of Launch NY. Female mentors from the Buffalo business community will be available throughout the day to guide and provide valuable advice to the "hackathon" teams.

The all-female "hackathon" will be run in partnership with International Institute of Business Analysts, which helped select the companies to benefit from a new website, and 43North, which has offered its new incubator space for the competition.

"43North's incubator is designed to be a collaborative space where new ideas flourish and the work of Buffalo's community of innovators is amplified," said Peter Burakowski, 43North senior marketing manager. "We are proud to host Girl Develop It's all-female 'hackathon' on Feb. 7."

GDI Hacks is open to women in the region of all skills and levels of expertise who are age 16 and older. The event is free for all interested participants, but preregistration for the event is required by Feb. 6 at www.gdihacks.com. Meals and snacks will be provided.

The "hackathon" is sponsored by AT&T, Hodgson Russ, InfoTech Niagara and Launch NY.

"AT&T proudly supports Girl Develop It Buffalo and applauds the organization for hosting the first all-women 'hackathon' in Western New York," said Marissa Shorenstein, AT&T New York state president. "AT&T is committed to closing the gender gap in technology and partnering with organizations that provide women with opportunities, skills and confidence necessary to become future technology leaders.

Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable and accessible programs to women who want to learn web and software development through mentorship and hands-on instruction. Its vision is to create a network of empowered women who feel confident in their abilities to code and build beautiful Web and mobile applications.

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