Entrepreneur speaking with mentors

The 1776 crew marches into FOSE

With the advent of new approaches to tech development via crowdsourcing, hackathons and other new forms of business innovation, the government IT market is starting to draw the attention of a new class of entrepreneurs.

FOSE 2014

Find out about the keynotes, programs, sessions and exhibits featured at this year's FOSE conference and expo. Read more.

The 1776 group, which will be presenting at FOSE this year, is one of them. The

group formed last April with a mission to support startup firms that are trying to tackle important challenges in government, healthcare, education, energy and transportation. The 1776 group helps those startups connect with established firms that are seeking new ideas and opportunities.

The group, located just a few blocks from the White House, now has over 200 companies as members who exchange ideas and gain insight and connections from established companies that already do business in government and other highly regulated industries.

1776 recently announced a major partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton to share resources. The  partnership aims to help government and commercial organizations build cultures of innovation and entrepreneurship. Another goal is to create new and distinctive products and services and to provide market access to enable promising startups to scale into larger companies.

Both “1776 and Booz Allen Hamilton share a belief that teams with mixed backgrounds, perspectives, connections and experience can approach major challenges from all angles to come up with holistic and viable solutions,” said Donna Harris, cofounder of 1776.

“A partnership between 1776 and Booz Allen will meld the best of entrepreneurial and corporate realms, resulting in a constant mix-and-match of talent and the resources to create highly scalable solutions for the problems most worth solving,” she said.

The partnership will give the 1776 startups the ability to tap into the knowledge and resources of Booz Allen. Booz Allen also benefits from helping to hone fresh ideas and products that ultimately can be a benefit to government as well.

“This partnership will enable startups and entrepreneurs to work with Booz Allen to connect with customers that can accelerate their market entry, and Booz Allen can leverage the insight and talent that entrepreneurs bring to help solve problems quickly,” said Karen Dahut, executive vice president, Booz Allen. “These relationships benefit everyone, because at the end of the day, creating practical solutions that have impact is what everyone wants.”

Visitors to the FOSE show floor will be able to see some of the hottest startups and their ideas in a specially designated area called Incubator Alley, designed to howcase some of 1776’s most promising startups from around the world. The street of booths will represent a real-life application of the strategic partnership between 1776 and Booz Allen, the organizers say. Each day, conference goers can visit Incubator Alley to meet with startups in education, healthcare, smart cities and energy. The startups will also appear on FOSE TV giving overviews about their products and services.

In March the group sponsored what is becoming one of their signature events, a hackcelerator -- a combination accelerator and hackathon. Teams of designers, developers, business leaders and mentors participated in the Microsoft Digital Enterprise Hack, the first installment of the 1776 and Booz Allen Hackcelerator Series. The group also plans to bring that idea to FOSE, especially down Incubator Alley, where attendees will sample its approach to innovation in action.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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