and Augusta University present 5-City Southeast Startup Challenge

You may have heard the term ‘hackathon’ before, but do you know what it means to take part in one?

Ranging from a weekend to a week, hackathons are events where groups of people meet to work together and develop new apps, programs and other solutions to real problems faced by agencies and individuals around the world.

In the same vein, is partnering with the Augusta University College of Allied Health Sciences to present a 5-City Southeast Startup Challenge.

This challenge will work similar to a hackathon but will take place over the course of three weekends in five cities across Georgia – Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Macon and Rome – from Mar. 16 to Apr. 1.  Competing teams will have the opportunity to work and find creative business solutions to real problems faced by government agencies, health systems and community health organization.

The startup challenge is beneficial because it caters directly to customers willing to pay for creative business solutions.

“As you can imagine, the most difficult part of starting a company is identifying customers,” said Grace Belangia, executive director of “With the support of Augusta University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Southeast Startup Challenge offers a unique opportunity for technology startups across the state to gain invaluable visibility and potentially a new customer for their businesses, along with funding and help to grow.”

The event will come to Augusta the weekend of Mar. 23 at, located at 540 Telfair St.

Each city will have two winning teams. Those teams will earn the opportunity to further develop their product with prospective customers, as well as work on their business and technology. Later this year, they’ll present at the statewide Southeast Startup Summit in Athens for a cash prize of $10,000 and business services from Drs. Gianluca De Leo and Vahe Heboyan, faculty from the Clinical and Digital Health Sciences department Augusta University.

“The Southeast Startup Challenge is a great opportunity for our students and faculty to think outside the box and to help our community to solve public health problems,” said De Leo. “It is also the occasion for students and faculty to express their entrepreneurial spirits. Faculty and students from every discipline are encouraged to participate.”

The startup challenge is open to students, faculty and staff, and there will be plenty of food, t-shirts, swag and prizes to go around.

If you would like to register a team, find more information on local challenges or read more about the Southeast Startup Challenge visit their website.

For more information on email Grace Belangia or Gianluca De Leo.

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Written by
Emily Lacey

Emily Lacey is a writer in the Division of Communications & Marketing at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-6144

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Written by Emily Lacey

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University and AU Health. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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