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Startup Societies Foundation to hold Hacking Democracy Summit in Puerto Rico

By on July 26, 2018

SAN JUAN – Startup Societies Foundation is calling for investors, blockchain entrepreneurs, policymakers, green infrastructure companies, real estate developers, NGOs, academics, Special Economic Zone experts and “exponential technology” startups to form a coalition.

It is holding its first “Hacking Democracy Summit” in San Juan on Friday and Saturday to continue developing a consortium of partners “across key fields to help revitalize Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and economy” in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria “through education, discourse, and sustainable startup cities that benefit Puerto Ricans and are managed by the locals,” according to the foundation.

The summit will include a hackathon to build so-called E-Governance products for Puerto Rican towns, with a Town Hall Meeting on startup cities and a networking workshop to discuss and develop proposals. The first event of the summit is a 24-hour hackathon, hosted by nonprofit organization Link, to be held at Engine-4 in Bayamón. It includes “$25,000 worth of prizes.”

The hackathon welcomes the public to create applications for open data, E-Government and infrastructure. “The goal is to engage local organizations and demonstrate proof-of-concept for modern technology, as well as their role in smart cities and governance,” the foundation explains.

“With the intent of developing a unified holistic plan, the Hack Democracy Summit” will also “host a Consortium Meeting of existing and new consortium partners” at Foundation for Puerto Rico offices and “will include breakout sessions for specific focus areas followed by a general session where each working group merges their proposals into a fully fleshed-out plan,” which the foundation says will be published two weeks after the event, and will incorporate feedback from local governments and grassroots organizations.

“In order to foster support and provide a platform for local organizations to voice their opinions, the Puerto Rico summit will include a Startup Societies Town Hall Meeting at the Bahía Urbana Amphitheater” as well. Local organizations are encouraged to explain the “concept of special economic zones and their potential benefit,” with the “true purpose” being “to listen to visions, doubts, priorities, and concerns of the locals,” the foundation says on its site.

It further explains that the “central point for consideration is whom the Consortium must be led by and ultimately benefit: Puerto Ricans. Only they can best chart the course of their revivification. This is their destiny; we simply aid them on their path. The goal of the Summit is to overcome a sickening cycle of apathy besieging our fellow American citizens.

“It’s time to do what Americans have done since 1776: Get in a room, make a plan — and execute,” the foundation says on its website, adding that “an open ‘E-government’ could revolutionize Puerto Rico, rivaling even that of Silicon Valley as a capital of technology and innovation.”

Partners for the event include Link, Digital Raign, Hacker House, Foundation for Puerto Rico, Colmena 66, Abre Puerto Rico, Piloto 151, Codetrotters, Gente Brava, Puerto Rico Science Technology & Research Trust, and the anchor sponsor Swarm Fund.

For more information about the event, visit the event page here.

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to reflect that the 24-hour hackathon will take place at Engine-4, not at Piloto 151’s coworking locations.


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