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Ready, set, develop.

The City of Seattle, King County and Washington State officially kicked off the first-ever Evergreen Apps Challenge today, a competition in which geeks from around Washington state are encouraged to build new travel, transportation, recycling or other apps that could benefit those living here.

We first wrote about the competition back in May when Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the concept at Startup Weekend Gov. At the time, City of Seattle Councilmember Bruce Harrell said that they hoped the competition would encourage more people to utilize government data sets in building new applications.

The competition runs through September 6th, and real prize money is on the line. In fact, the “best overall app” will earn $20,000, with second place reeling in $15,000. The effort is supported by the City of Seattle, Washington State’s Broadband Office and King County, and through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Now, we know there are some seriously capable hackers around the area that will want to show off their stuff, and if the $20,000 doesn’t get you going then we’ll make sure to give some props to the winner here in the pages of GeekWire too. In total, the government entities plan to give away more than $75,000 in prize money to those who participate.

The competition is only open to those who live, work or study in the state, and the end-goal is to create new apps that make our lives easier but also help “stimulate economic development” through the encouragement of new ideas that could be commercialized.

And that begs the question: Who actually owns the intellectual property at the end of the day?

According to a FAQ on the Evergreen App Challenge Web site, teams retain the software code that they write. However, the government entities will be given a royalty-free perpetual and transferable license to post submissions on the Evergreen App Challenge Web site, and to utilize the apps for noncommercial purposes for a period of 12 months after the conclusion of the competition.

“We expect to see some great apps that combine the best work of our dynamic private and public sectors,” said Rogers Weed, director of the Department of Commerce, in a statement.

To drum up support for the effort, the government entities plan to a host a “Geeks on a Ferry” event on August 14 where developers get to ride on a Washington State Ferry and work on their ideas. (Free wi-fi provided). After the ferry ride, developers will get to spend five hours coding away at the Kitsap Conference Center.

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