IIT hosted a weekend-long MonkeyBars Spring Build hack-a-thon event that took place this weekend in the Idea Shop at 3400 S. Dearborn. The event, a hack-a-thon "unlike any other Chicago has seen," hosted some 100-plus programmers, designers, builders and the generally curious.
From 2pm Saturday, February 23rd to 5:30pm Sunday, February 24, participants were given charge of bringing ideas to life. Monkeybars co-founders Robel Belay, Emmanuel Marcha and Taylor Harvey have thrown traditional judging out the window, as MonkeyBars gave prizes for purely being awesome. Participants having a passion for learning and creating was the benchmark of a true innovator and rewarded accordingly.
"We throw hack-a-thons to create a community of creators and developers. People who are passionate about building and making things," Monkeybars co-founder Taylor Harvey said.
"We started really small, and by amalgamating a lot of the outcomes that we got from our first hack-a-thon (people getting jobs, people learning programming language overnight; people taking
projects outside of the hack-a-thon 24-hour competitions and building something even greater then integrating it within the school.) We just decided to keep it going, but now reach out to more schools," Harvey added.
Harvey listed University of Chicago and DePaul Universities as current partners, and Monkeybars is currently seeking a joint partnership with Columbia College as well.
"Our ultimate goal is to unite college students in the Chicago land area, to have a community to learn, collaborate and build together," Harvey said.
Microsoft's Martin Schray, Director, Central Region Audience, was on-hand as one of the event sponsors. He shared in Microsoft acknowledging the importance of supporting tech start-ups.
"Microsoft is very keen with working with start-ups, and we have a number of programs to make it easy for start-ups to work with us, in tools and applications, and BizSpark is the program that allows them to do that," Schray added.
Schray said there are few limitations for start-ups to receive support from Microsoft:
- Must be geared at technical start-ups that are building their businesses around software;
- Must be an independent entity;
- In business under three years
- Under $1M in annual revenue
Visit www.microsoft.com/bizspark to get all the details of how to join the program and get their software to build their software needed for their business, Schray added.
Words from these sponsors and attendees (video)
Ox & Pen, Jeff Cokefair of Business Development
Interested college students within the Chicagoland area who wish to either keep up with events or join the Monkeybars movement can visit www.hackthemonkey.com or visit IIT at: www.iit.edu or by calling 312-567-3000 for more information.