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Commerce Department Declares Winners in the Commerce Business Apps Challenge


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An online application that allows businesses to compare themselves to their competitors, locate their competition, customers, and suppliers, and find the best places to advertise and their developer team of four won the Commerce Department’s first prize and $5,000 in the nationwide Commerce Business Apps Challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The winning apps use at least one Department of Commerce data set that assists businesses and/or improves the service delivery of Business.USA.gov to the business community. BusinessUSA is a centralized, one-stop platform to make it easier than ever for businesses to access services to help them grow and hire. All of these winners equip businesses with tools to be more competitive around the world, while creating jobs here at home.

The First Place winner, SizeUp, is a business intelligence tool that uses data from hundreds of sources including the Census Bureau, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, IRS records, county courthouse filings, Yellow Pages and White Pages, business publications, the U.S. Postal Service, and corporate annual reports to provide a comprehensive overview to small- and medium-sized  business about their competitiveness and where to find resources to improve. This will improve the success of small businesses so they can prosper and create new jobs.

The $10,000 contest challenges app developers to find innovative ways to utilize Commerce and other publicly available data and information to support American businesses. 22 entries were submitted to the high-profile judging panel that included Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google; Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media and Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook among others who selected the three winners.

The Commerce competition awarded a First Place winner ($5,000), a Second Place winner ($3,000) and a Third Place winner ($2,000).

The Second Place winner, ZoomProspector.com, is a website that provides a way for new and expanding businesses to find, compare and deeply analyze communities and available properties nationwide. This tool will be valuable for American companies looking to expand their operations inside the United States or companies choosing to bring jobs back from overseas. ZoomProspector.com’s online map-based search can greatly simplify and speed up the site selection process, freeing companies to be able to quickly and accurately make informed decisions based on numerous data sets including demographic, business, transportation, and property information unavailable in any other single website. They used data from the Census Bureau, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The Third Place winner, MyBusiness Toolbox, is an iOS (iPhone and iPad) app that helps small business owners find helpful information and resources related to growing (or starting) their business. The app helps small business owners find articles, data, events, programs, services, stories, tools, funding sources, license information, and helpful sites related to owning a small business by utilizing the BusinessUSA Resource Access API and the SBA API.

Building upon this successful contest, the Census Bureau has opened up a beta API to ensure that American entrepreneurs and businesses can compete, win, and create jobs here at home.

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