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Smeal, Innoblue to Host HackPSU, $1,000 Prize

From Saturday November 10th to Sunday November 11th, Penn State-based entrepreneurship accelerator Innoblue (@InnobluePSU) and the Smeal College of Business will co-host HackPSU, a 24-hour competition for prospective entrepreneurs.

Teams or individuals will be given 24 hours to create a project and pitch their resulting product to a panel of judges, for a chance to win from a pool of over $2,000 in prizes. The event will also be sponsored by Microsoft, General Electric, Treehouse (@Treehouse), ReadyForce (@ReadyForce), and everyone’s favorite drunk food destination, Canyon Pizza.

Innoblue, a student organization that promotes entrepreneurial endeavors, aims to engage the technical and business potential of the greater Penn State community, given the strength of such programs at this university. In addition to hosting weekly workshops on everything from coding to Photoshop to speaker events — the most recent with Mike Kim of LinkedIn (@MikeKimSF) and Penn State professor Mark Gagnon — Innoblue has organized Hack PSU, an event designed to get participants to develop their ideas into working prototypes.

HackPSU is a hackathon, an event for programmers, mobile and web designers, marketers, and people of other disciplines to collaborate on either software or hardware projects. It is the first of its kind to be sponsored by the Smeal College of Business. It is also the first year that a Penn State-hosted hackathon has been open to other universities. The event has registered participants from schools as far away as the University of Michigan.

“This will be a great opportunity for students from multiple schools to network and to collaborate on building something that could last beyond the hackathon itself,” says Kathleen Warner, President of Innoblue and organizer of HackPSU.

The hackathon will start at 2:00pm on Saturday and move into Sunday, and will be the kickoff event for Global Entrepreneurship Week at Penn State, part of a larger event to expand the entrepreneurial skills of college students across the country. If you’ve ever thought of starting your own business, this is your opportunity to put your skills to the test.

“You always hear about people that have ideas but haven’t pursued them yet. HackPSU is a time to actually get stuff done and present your work after 24 hours of devotion to it,” says Warner.

In addition, the hackathon is an opportunity to meet potential future collaborators, or even future co-founders of companies.

“It’s not just about the product you’re building in 24 hours, it’s also about the relationships you make in the process,” says Warner. “There are people I’ve met at hackathons I have participated in that I would seriously consider starting a business with someday.”

Throughout its 24-hours, HackPSU participants will be provided with snacks, lunch, dinner — and most importantly — an endless supply of Red Bull. At the conclusion of the event, finished products will be presented to a panel of judges including Steve Welch, founder of DreamIt Venture, and Liz Kisenwether, co-director of the Lion Launch Pad.

First prize is a cool $1,000 cash — 2nd is $500, and 3rd is $250. There will also be raffles for attendees of the HackPSU, including one of Microsoft’s new Surface tablets.

To participate, register online at HackPSU site on Hacker League. However, anyone is welcome to sit in and observe — and if you’re there, you can enter the raffle. Any questions about the event should be directed to [email protected] or the organization’s Twitter account, @InnobluePSU.

About the Author

Bobby Chen

Writer and photographer, helping tell the many stories of the Penn State community.


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