Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

Why are you doing this?

Data is the infrastructure of the digital age. And publicly available data can now illuminate solutions to challenges like no other time in our history. There is no single entity that collects and manages more data than government. Unfortunately, many of the systems and processes that collect this data have not kept up with the demand and the potential for it.

The world-wide Open Data movement asks government entities of all sizes to make their data—a public asset—available to developers and entrepreneurs so its potential can be realized.

Go Code Colorado is taking a lead position in this movement.

Read more here.

Is it working?


Go Code Colorado Recognitions: Secretary of State Scott Gessler is pictured receiving the Colorado Technology Association Apex Award for "Project of the Year."

Secretary of State Scott Gessler receiving the Colorado Technology Association Apex Award for “Project of the Year.”

Go Code Colorado recognitions over the years: the competition has received several honors since its launch in 2014. Here is a comprehensive list of these accomplishments:

Who pays for it?

Go Code Colorado is run through the Business and Licensing division of Colorado’s Secretary of State’s office. It’s paid for with business licenses, which is why we keep the challenge focused on B2B apps—we’re returning value to Colorado businesses.

What does it cost to particpate?

All our events are free.

Who participates?

We occupy a very interesting place in the Colorado tech entrepreneurial ecosystem, and we rely on the help of all kinds of stakeholders. There are several ways to get involved.

  • As a team member. Teams of developers, designers, entrepreneurs and others come together to compete for pretty nice perks.
  • As a mentor. The competing teams need guidance to make their app and business concepts awesome. If you’ve launched a tech startup, worked in app development, have startup legal experience, know how to position a new app or business in the marketplace, love data, or are an open data activist, please join us. You’ll not just help the teams. You’ll also help build stronger apps for Colorado businesses.
  • As a sponsor. Financial contributions help build more compelling events, farther outreach to communities in Colorado, and a strong Mentor Weekend to encourage the success of our competing teams. All contributions are tax deductible and go directly to supporting Go Code Colorado events state-wide.
  • As a volunteer. We can use talents and skills in all kinds of ways. If you have some time and want to rub elbows with a fun and vibrant community (plus free beer and food), hit us up.

Go Code Colorado is different from a hackathon, isn’t it?

Yes. We’re inventing a new model for hackathons/app challenges/civic engagement activities.

We knew that we needed to find an interesting, creative, and fun way to engage Colorado’s brilliant tech minds to help create solutions for making open data useful.

Much of our inspiration came from civic app contests and hackathons like NYC Big Apps and CityCamp Raleigh, as well as longer-term startup incubators and competitions like TechStars and XPrize. And while having a one-weekend hackathon can produce some interesting and creative ideas, we wanted Go Code Colorado to be even bigger.

Many hackathons focus on the three-day event and then leave it to the participants to complete the apps and push them forward. This isn’t a recipe for sustained success. We want something more sustainable. Our immediate goal is to build an ecosystem around this contest so that we can help teams put a lot of thought into defining their ideas. We want to set up teams smartly so that once the contest is over they can keep going.

Competing FAQs

When can I start?

This year, teams can form and work can begin right now. That’s right: You can code, concept, and get rolling before Challenge Weekend.

  • You can also start without a team and show up to Challenge Weekend with your idea and maybe some code.
  • You can form a team locally.
  • You can form a team on our Go Code Colorado #Slack community #findateam channel.
  • You can attend one of our Roadshow local kickoffs or sponsored meetups and find team members.
  • You can show up April 7th with no idea, no team, and just participate. Just be ready to tell teams what skills you bring to the table.

How do I sign up for challenge weekend?

Choose a location and register here.

Why did you start the challenge two months earlier this year?

In the first two years of the challenge, we announced the challenge statement(s) —the problem(s) we’re asking teams to solve—just before challenge weekend. This year, we announced it a full two months ahead of time, and we removed any restrictions on the type of work you could do between the February 3 kick off and the beginning of challenge weekend. This means you can be working on your idea and building your app right now. So, why the change?

We want to accommodate more styles of working and open the challenge to different types of minds. Some people love the pressure of deadlines and have their best ideas sparked by intensity. Some people want some time to marinate ideas before starting. And there are people in between. We want to accommodate each type of worker.

I want to participate but I can’t find team members, or my team doesn’t know where to start. Should I still attend challenge weekend? And how will I find a team?

Yes, you should still attend challenge weekend. There will be others who are coming on their own as well, looking to form a new team. Teams have formed Friday night of challenge weekend every year and have gone on to the finals. We have every reason to believe that will be the case this year too.

In addition, some teams have already formed and started working, but will be looking for additional team members—that last piece of the talent puzzle. They will find you at challenge weekend.

You can also introduce yourself on the Go Code Colorado #Slack community #findateam channel to meet other participants ahead of the weekend. Or come to one of our events to meet people interested in the competition.

Now that I can code ahead of time, why do I need to attend challenge weekend? Can’t I just show up on Sunday with my app built?

Challenge weekend remains a cornerstone of Go Code Colorado. Challenge weekend brings together Go Code organizers, mentors, and data and tech tool experts to work with the teams in person and in real time.

Challenge weekend facilitates an intense, focused working period for teams. It’s a fostered creative environment with white boards, team tables, and broadband. We provide food and drink refreshments to allow teams long periods of uninterrupted work. We also use the time to disseminate important information to set participants up for success—information like presentation tips, rules, and scheduling details.

Finally, challenge weekend takes place in a fun environment—participants are helping build a stronger Colorado and there is a shared sense of accomplishment from participating together.

We wrote about this on our blog as well if you’d like to check it out.

OK, I’d like to sign up. How do I register/how do I register my team?

Register for the 2016 Go Code Colorado challenge by choosing a challenge weekend city and signing up on our website. You can pick any city to compete in—it does not have to be the city closest to you.

As soon as you register, we’ll send you an email with information to sign up for additional tools, so if you are already working on your idea, but haven’t registered yet, sign up today.

Each team member needs to register separately. We’ll get you to provide additional information about who is on your team when you get to challenge weekend on April 7, 2017.

Can I switch locations?

If you want to change locations after you sign up, you can — we just ask that you let the organizers know at

What makes a good team?

The most successful Go Code Colorado teams have skill sets found in developers, designers, marketers, thinkers, and entrepreneurs. Are you one of these? If so Colorado needs you! Building successful, sustainable apps with public data that local businesses can actually requires all kinds of folks helping. This is hands-on economic development. Your B2B apps will help your local community and support businesses throughout Colorado.

If you are looking for a team, register for Challenge Weekend to get access to the Go Code Colorado #Slack Community #findateam channel. This is where people who want to compete will post their profile to find like-minds and form a team prior to Challenge Weekend.

We published the Challenge Statement that was created by Colorado businesses (the target market for your app and business ideas). We want to encourage terrific app and business ideas so we don’t have any requirements surrounding when you can start. You can get going today. But Challenge Weekend is your chance to get to work in a focused environment, with Go Code Colorado organizers available to help with rules, data, or other questions, as well as tech entrepreneur mentors available to offer their advice for winning ideas.

Challenge Weekends will be held in five regions across the state. This year we are again in Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Fort Collins and Grand Junction. Food and drinks are provided, so all you need to bring is your laptop or tablet, an idea and a willingness to go big or go home.

Collaborate. Code. Compete.

Rules and Regulations

What are the rules?

The following is from the previous competition.

This information is subject to change and is provided for reference only. Please subscribe to our email updates here for the latest news.

Go Code Colorado CHALLENGE: Official Participant Rules

The Go Code Colorado Challenge is sponsored by Go Code Colorado, the Colorado Department of State, and the State of Colorado, 1700 Broadway Suite 200, Denver CO 80290,



  • To enter the Go Code Colorado Challenge, log on to, click on EVENTS, and register to attend one of the five Challenge Weekend events.
  • Participants must build a computer application that addresses the business challenge.
  • Participants must use at least one dataset that is publicly available on the Colorado Information Marketplace, which can be found at Participants may use private data as well in addition to at least one public dataset.
  • Participants may participate in the Challenge Weekend in one of the five Go Code Colorado regions: Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Fort Collins, or Grand Junction.
  • The Challenge Weekend will begin on Friday, April 7, 2017, at 6:00 PM MDT and end on Sunday, April 9, 2017, at 5:00 PM MDT. Participants must submit their entry by April 9, 2017, at 5:00 PM MDT.
  • During Challenge Weekend, at least one team member must be present at each of the designated check-in times during the weekend as follows: Friday, April 7, 2017, from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM MDT; Saturday, April 8, 2017, from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM MDT; and Sunday, April 9, 2017, from 4:00 PM MDT until the event ends.
  • The top two teams from each region during the Challenge Weekend will move on to the Final Competition to compete for three awards.
  • A panel of qualified judges, selected by Go Code Colorado, (“Judges”) will review all submissions at the end of the Challenge Weekend and, based on the judging criteria, will choose the top two teams from each region to go on to the Final Competition.
  • The top two teams from each region may participate in the Mentor Weekend (a finalist event).
  • The top two teams from each region must submit their entries for the Final Competition by May 20, 2017, at 1:00 PM MDT.
  • To be eligible to win, the top two teams in each region must attend the Final Competition in Denver, Colorado on May 24, 2017, at 6:00 PM MDT until close, location to be announced on The final two teams from each region will pitch their ideas and demonstrate interactive features of the application they built to the Judges.
  • Judges, in their sole discretion, will select the winners of the Final Competition based on the judging criteria.
  • Winners will be announced at the Final Competition on May 24, 2017.


  • You are an individual legally residing in one of the fifty United States or the District of Columbia or you are a corporation, LLC, or other organization that is domiciled in the United States and properly formed at the time of entry.
  • You are fourteen years old or older. If you are under eighteen years old, you must identify yourself as a minor and provide proof of parental consent.
  • If you are a team, corporation, or nonprofit organization, all individual members must meet the eligibility requirements.
  • If you have participated in the Go Code Colorado Challenge previously, you may participate again if you meet all of the other eligibility requirements.


  • An individual may join more than one team.
  • A team must consist of at least two people.
  • You must disclose any actual or potential conflicts of interest you have with: (a) an employee of a partner; (b) employees or contractors of Go Code Colorado; (c) the Colorado Department of State; (d) the State of Colorado; (e) competition Judges, their immediate families (spouse, parents and step-parents, siblings and step-siblings, and children and step-children), and household members (people who share the same residence at least three months out of the year); (f) competition advisors, their immediate families, and household members.
  • All programs associated with Go Code Colorado are subject to all applicable United States federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
  • By participating in Go Code Colorado, you agree to any and all Go Code Colorado rules and procedures and understand and agree that the Judges’ decisions are final and binding on all matters related to the Go Code Colorado Challenge.
  • Winners will receive an award within one month of the Final Competition. The receipt of an award or benefit is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth by Go Code Colorado, the Colorado Department of State, and the State of Colorado, including but not limited to, acceptance of its Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, waivers, and Services Agreement with the State of Colorado, if applicable.
  • If you are one of the three winners, restrictions may apply. Receipt of an award is contingent upon: (1) the acceptance of a license granted by the Colorado Department of State with the opportunity for an assignment of that intellectual property after one calendar year; (2) the proper registration of your business in the State of Colorado; and (3) your express acknowledgement that all intellectual property created as a result of participation in Go Code Colorado is the property of the Colorado Department of State during the length of the license agreement.
  • You have no right, power, or authority to bind Go Code Colorado, the Colorado Department of State, and the State of Colorado to the fulfillment of any condition, contract, or obligation or to create any liability binding on Go Code Colorado, the Colorado Department of State, and the State of Colorado.
  • You may not be an employee or independent contractor of Go Code Colorado, the Colorado Department of State, the Business Intelligence Center, or the Offices of the Governor (including, but not limited to, the Office of Economic Development and International Trade and the Office of Information Technology).
  • All apps created for the Go Code Colorado Challenge must be newly written. “Newly written” means that the application was not a minimally viable product or completed product and was not commercially available or publicly accessible before February 1, 2017. You may use source code, sample code, libraries, SDKs, and APIs that were publicly available before February 1, 2017.
  • Each team must submit the code for their application to a repository on GitHub by 5:00 PM MDT on April 9, 2017, for the Challenge Weekend. The submission must include all source code of the application including CSS.
  • Each team must submit the code for their application to a repository on GitHub by 1:00 PM MDT on May 20, 2017, for the Final Competition. The submission must include all source code of the application including CSS.
  • The code will be reviewed for technical merit as part of the final judging criteria.
  • All materials submitted to Go Code Colorado must be in English.
  • Go Code Colorado reserves the right to disqualify any entry that is offensive, as determined by Go Code Colorado, in our sole discretion. Please ensure your entry is appropriate for all viewing audiences.


  • Each of the three winners will receive an award at the Final Competition. Winners will be awarded a package including cash award incentives, in-kind offers, investor connections, and a government contract with the Colorado Department of State. Each package is worth an average retail value of ,000. The odds of winning depend on the number of registered participants.
  • By participating in the Go Code Colorado Challenge, you agree to adhere to these Official Participant Rules, the terms and restrictions provided herein, and Go Code Colorado’s Release. By participating, participants further agree to Go Code Colorado’s Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy, available at
  • Go Code Colorado reserves the right to assess your eligibility and compliance with these Official Participant Rules at any point during the event series. If Go Code Colorado requires any assistance in order to assess your compliance, you must promptly provide that assistance. If you do not provide the requested assistance in a timely manner, or if Go Code Colorado has reason to believe that you are not complying with the Official Participant Rules, you may be disqualified, in Go Code Colorado’s sole discretion.
  • You will have to sign this release form.
  • Go Code Colorado reserves the right to modify the terms of these Official Participant Rules at any time in its sole and exclusive discretion. All notifications and changes to these Official Participant Rules will be posted on



What are the judging criteria?



The Challenge is sponsored by Go Code Colorado, the Colorado Secretary of the State, and the State of Colorado, 1700 Broadway Suite 200, Denver CO 80290, Below are the Go Code Colorado judging guidelines for judges in choosing winners of the challenge.

Challenge Weekend judging will be based on the material covered during presentations. In their presentations, Challenge Weekend participants should describe progress made across a range of areas—including strategic planning, market research, design, and coding, as well as others. Judges will take each team’s overall progress into consideration when they apply the judging criteria.

Final Competition judging will be based on: accompanying material provided in each team’s submission; scoring from code review and data evaluation and material covered during team presentations.



20% of Score

Is the app concept new and different? Does it solve a real problem for business decision-makers?

Teams should clearly show how their idea is new and different from what is currently available in the market and why they believe business decision-makers will use the product.



20% of Score

Is the app feasible? Does the team have the right skills to build this app and gain traction in the market?

At Challenge Weekend, judging will be based on whether app ideas are feasible to implement and whether a working product could be deployed. For the Final Competition, teams must produce a minimum viable product. This means an app that is available to public users.  Teams must project the number of possible or likely users. Teams must explain how they would use the winning resources to advance the app and idea, including a sales or marketing strategy.



20% of Score

Is the app well-built? Does it have useful functionality that will be easily adopted by business decision-makers? Will there be any issue scaling based on the technology or the code structure?

Apps are evaluated as-presented at Challenge Weekend, and as-is for the Final Competition. For the Final Competition, a code review is provided by independent analysts and submitted to the judges for their use in determining a quality score. The code review rubric is available here.



10% of Score

Did the team successfully and persuasively explain how their idea will solve a problem for a business decision-maker using public data?



30% of Score

Has the team added value to the public data and cogently delivered it to a business decision-maker to help with the decision-making process?

By its nature, public data is available to all. Teams must show how they have combined or analyzed the data to create new insights that help a business decision-maker. For the Final Competition, a data evaluation is submitted to the judges for their use in their determining of a data score. The data evaluation rubric is available here.


Is it true that if my team wins, we have to give up ownership rights to our app?

Yes. For a year.

Under sate law the Go Code Colorado challenge is treated like “work for hire” services, and that law says that the State of Colorado has to own the IP if we pay for it, which is what the cash award is.

However, because we’d like you to own your IP and give you the freedom to do what you want with it, we sat down with our lawyers and found a way for the State of Colorado to keep ownership for just one year. We will then license the IP back to you so your team can keep working on it.

The State of Colorado has an interest in your success. Legally we have to take IP ownership, at least temporarily, but we look at this as an opportunity to continue to support you and your team. Ownership doesn’t mean the State will manage, control, or interfere with the development or operation of your team’s business model.

We are not in the business of business, and frankly that is why we are engaging devs and entrepreneurs to create Go Code Colorado. In short, you can think of the State of Colorado as a silent, yet supportive, partner in your new side project.

What if my team doesn’t win?

If your team doesn’t win the Challenge then you can do whatever you want with your app and the IP. You own it completely and have the freedom to use it how you please: open source it, sell it, turn it into a business, or do nothing at all. The app is yours.

Key Events


Kickoff 2017

February 01, 2017 @ 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Challenge Weekend

April 07, 2017 @ 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Fri - Sun21 - 23

Mentor Weekend

April 21 @ 6:00 PM - April 23 @ 8:00 PM

Final Event

MAY 24 @ 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

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