Chris Gautz| Crain’s Detroit

App developers are invited to attend the state’s first “Code Michigan” event this October in the Madison Building in Detroit, where attendees will have access to state data and use them to create civic-minded apps.

These apps could include ways to make government more efficient or transparent, monitor emerging issues and promote economic development, along with a host of other potential ideas, according to the state.

“Code Michigan is an exciting opportunity for civic-minded developers and designers to get together and create mobile apps for the public good,” David Behen, the state’s chief information officer, said in a statement. “This is the first chance for coders to use state data to design and build apps with real social value.”

Those interested can register for free at Only 200 tickets are available, so early registration for the three-day event is encouraged.

Code Michigan will take place at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 4 to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Madison Building, 1555 Broadway St.

“This unique event is only one example of how the state of Michigan is thinking outside the box on ways to improve customer service,” John Nixon, director of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, said in a statement. “We are excited to tap into the many talented developers out there who can help us realize our vision of making state government even more innovative and responsive.”

Those who develop the best and most viable apps can win cash prizes and the opportunity to pitch their app to venture capitalists. The grand prize is $20,000, the crowd favorite will receive a $5,000 prize, and the best idea will receive a $1,000 prize.

While this is the first time such an event has taken place in Michigan, according to the statement, similar events around the country have led to the creation of new companies.

Several private partners are assisting the state in putting on the event, including Commercial Progression, Detroit Labs and Bedrock Real Estate, as well as Windows Azure (Microsoft), GitHub, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The event was proposed by entrepreneur Rick Mason, who said coders’ skill sets can be leveraged to contribute to bettering society.

“I call it ‘Democracy 2.0,’ ” he said in a statement.

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