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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

USDA Innovation Challenge

Use USDA data to create working, interactive applications to get farmers the information they need – and help feed America.

Department of Agriculture

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $63,000
Type of Challenge: Software and apps
Partner Agencies | Non-federal: Microsoft
Submission Start: 07/24/2015 10:00 AM ET
Submission End: 10/27/2015 05:00 PM ET

This challenge is externally hosted.

You can view the challenge details here: http://usdaapps.devpost.com/

Description

Help build a sustainable US food system by putting USDA data into the hands of farmers, researchers, and consumers.

Being a farmer in America is not for the weak of heart. For decades, it has been a game of both chance and experience - making farming a difficult industry to enter. In fact, the number of entry-level farmers has fallen by 30% since 1987 (http://www.cfra.org).

For those that do enter this industry, farming is becoming an increasingly data and technology driven activity. Known as “precision farming” or “precision ag,” farmers are now utilizing data from satellites, market reports, weather forecasts, surveys, and sensors that provide on-demand GPS monitoring and mapping tools. (http://www.usatoday.com)

Still, it’s not enough. American farmers need more data in order to create a sustainable food system for the United States. They need to analyse the food supply coming from farms and ranches and the economics of consumer demand. They need to know how yields have changed over time so they can prepare for and predict future crops. They need to know what is growing well in their area and what isn’t. Similarly, consumers and researchers want to know where their food is coming from and how we can make US agriculture more sustainable.

The USDA has a tremendous amount of food supply, economic demand, and remote sensing data as part of its Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) and Economic Research Service (ERS), the challenge is to explore how to make this data accessible and provide insights for potential users. Help create a sustainable, competitive, and healthy US food system. Use USDA data to create working, interactive applications to get farmers the information they need – and help feed America.

Prizes

Best Overall App – Grand Prize
Cash Prize Amount: $25000
Eligible Makers = All except Large Organizations Applicable Category & Judging Criteria = i, ii, iii, iv

Best Overall App – Second Place
Cash Prize Amount: $15000
Eligible Makers = All except Large Organizations Applicable Category & Judging Criteria = i, ii, iii, iv

Best Overall App –Third Place
Cash Prize Amount: $7500
Eligible Makers = All except Large Organizations Applicable Category & Judging Criteria = i, ii, iii, iv

Honorable Mentions
Cash Prize Amount: $2000
Eligible Makers = All except Large Organizations Applicable Category & Judging Criteria = i, ii, iii, iv

Honorable Mentions
Cash Prize Amount: $2000
Eligible Makers = All except Large Organizations Applicable Category & Judging Criteria = i, ii, iii, iv

Best Open Source App
Cash Prize Amount: $2500
Eligible Makers = All except Large Organizations Applicable Category & Judging Criteria = i, ii, iii, iv (Must meet category requirements)

Best Open Source App
Cash Prize Amount: $2500
Eligible Makers = All except Large Organizations Applicable Category & Judging Criteria = i, ii, iii, iv (Must meet category requirements)

Best Open Source App
Cash Prize Amount: $2500
Eligible Makers = All except Large Organizations Applicable Category & Judging Criteria = i, ii, iii, iv (Must meet category requirements)

Best Student-made App
Cash Prize Amount: $1500
Eligible Makers = Students Applicable Category & Judging Criteria = i, ii, iii, iv

Best Visualization in Time or Space Award
Cash Prize Amount: $2000
Eligible Makers = All except Large Organizations Applicable Category & Judging Criteria = i, ii, iii, iv

Rules

1. POSTER [& ADMINISTRATOR]

Poster (the “Poster”): Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052 USA The Challenge is an initiative of the Microsoft Corporation with the cooperation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”). Microsoft (Poster) is the sponsor and entity responsible for the Challenge and is contributing the funding. USDA is contributing its data and is supporting and approving this Challenge.

Administrator (the “Administrator”): ChallengePost, Inc., 425 W. 13th Street, Suite #504, New York, NY 10014.

2. DATES AND TIMING Challenge Submission Period: July 24, 2015 (10:00am Eastern Time) – October 27, 2015 (5:00pm Eastern Time) (the “Challenge Submission Period”)

Judging Period: November 20th 2015 (10:00am Eastern Time) – November 17, 2015 (5:00pm Eastern Time) (the “Judging Period”) Public Voting Period: November 4, 2015 (10:00am Eastern Time) – November 17, 2015 (5:00pm Eastern Time) (the “Public Voting Period”)

Winners Announced: On or around December 2, 2015 (2:00pm Eastern Time) The Administrator will be the official timekeeper for the Challenge.

3. ELIGIBILITY

A. The Challenge IS open to: 

  • individuals who are at least 18 years of age as of the time of entry
  • teams of eligible individuals
  • teams entering on behalf of organizations (including corporations, not-for-profit corporations and other nonprofit organizations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and other legal entities) that exist and have been organized or incorporated at the time of entry, and employ no more than 50 people (“Organizations”)
  • teams entering on behalf of organizations that employ more than 50 people (“Large Organizations”), though such Large Organizations are only eligible for the Large Organization Recognition Award described below in Section 7
(the above are collectively, “Makers”) An individual may join more than one team, Organization, or Large Organization and an individual who is part of a team, Organization, or Large Organization may also enter the Challenge on an individual basis. If a team or organization is entering the Challenge, they must appoint and authorize one individual (the “Representative”) to represent, act, and enter a Submission (as defined below in Section 4), on their behalf. The Representative must meet the eligibility requirements above. By entering a Submission on the Site on behalf of a team or organization, you represent and warrant that you are the Representative authorized to act on behalf of your team or organization.

B. The Challenge IS NOT open to: 

  • individuals who are residents of, or Organizations or Large Organizations domiciled in, a country, state, province or territory where the laws of the United States or local law prohibits participating or receiving a prize in the Challenge (including, but not limited to, Brazil, Quebec, Italy, and Cuba, Sudan, Iran, North Korea, Syria and any other country designated by the United States Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control)
  • organizations involved with the design, production, paid promotion, execution, or distribution of the Challenge, including Microsoft, USDA, and ChallengePost (“Promotion Entities”)
  • employees, representatives and agents** of such organizations, and all members of their immediate family or household*
  • any other individual involved with the design, production, promotion, execution, or distribution of the Challenge, and each member of their immediate family or household*
  • any Judge (defined below), or company or individual that employs a Judge, and all members of a Judge’s immediate family or household*
  • any parent company, subsidiary, or other affiliate*** of any organization described above
  • any other individual or organization whose participation in the Challenge would create, in the sole discretion of the Poster and/or Administrator, a real or apparent conflict of interest
*The members of an individual’s immediate family include the individual’s spouse, children and stepchildren, parents and stepparents, and siblings and stepsiblings. The members of an individual’s household include any other person that shares the same residence as the individual for at least three (3) months out of the year. **Agents include individuals or organizations that in creating a Submission to the Challenge, are acting on behalf of, and at the direction of, a Promotion Entity through a contractual or similar relationship. ***An affiliate is: (a) an organization that is under common control, sharing a common majority or controlling owner, or common management; or (b) an organization that has a substantial ownership in, or is substantially owned by the other organization. Additional Prize specific eligibility requirements are stated below in Section 8.

4. SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS Makers must do the following to participate in the Challenge:

  • Register for the Challenge on the Challenge Website by clicking the “Register” button. To complete registration, sign up to create a ChallengePost account, or log in with an existing ChallengePost account. There is no charge for creating a ChallengePost account. This will enable you receive important updates and access the “Enter a Submission” page.
  • Create a working, interactive software application that integrates one or more of the required USDA datasets listed in the “Required USDA Datasets” section of the Challenge Website Resources page at: http://usdaapps.challengepost.com/details/resources.
  • Create a video that includes footage that clearly explains your application’s features and functionality through a comprehensive demonstration.
  • Complete and enter all of the required fields on the “Enter a Submission” page of the Challenge Website (each a “Submission”) during the Challenge Submission Period, and follow the requirements below.

A. Language Requirements  All Submission materials must be in English or, if not in English, the Maker must provide an English translation of the demonstration video, text description, and testing instructions as well as all other materials submitted.

B. Application Requirements

(i) What to Create: Makers must create a working, interactive software application that that integrates one or more of the required USDA datasets listed in the “Required USDA Datasets” section of the Challenge Website Resources page at: http://usdaapps.challengepost.com/details/resources. (each an “Application”). The Application must include interactive functionality for the end user to access and/or analyze the USDA data. Static data visualizations are not eligible.

(ii) Functionality: The Application must be capable of being successfully installed and running consistently on the platform for which it is intended, and must function as depicted in the video and/or expressed in the text description.

(iii) Platforms: A submitted Application must run on at least one of the following:

  • Android device (such as a smartphone, tablet, Google Glass, etc.)
  • iOS device (such as a smartphone, tablet, etc.)
  • Windows Phone device (such as a smartphone, tablet, etc.)
  • Blackberry device
  • Kindle
  • Web or mobile web
  • Windows desktop computer
  • Mac desktop computer
  • other hardware (including, but not limited to, wearable technology and open source hardware)
  (iv) New & Existing: Applications must be either newly created by the Maker or, if the Application existed prior to the Challenge Submission Period, must have integrated the required USDA data after the start of the Challenge Submission Period.

(v) Testing: The Maker must make the Application available free of charge and without any restriction, for testing, evaluation and use by the Poster, Administrator and judges during the Challenge and until the Judging Period ends. You can make your Application available using one of the following methods:

  1. Android Applications:Upload an .apk file on the Enter a Submission form or provide a link for downloading the Application in the “Testing Instructions” field on the Enter a Submission form.
  2. iOS Applications:
  • If your Application is available on the iTunes App Store provide a link in the “Website URL” field on “Enter a Submission” form. If you charge a fee for downloading your Application, you must provide a promo code.
  • If your Application is not yet publicly available on the iTunes App Store, you must send a test build to the Administrator before the end of the Challenge Submission Period using one of the following methods:
1. Beta by Crashalytics You may send the Administrator a beta test via Crashalytics. Use the Administrator’s testing email (testing@challengepost.com) and UDID’s to provision a build and send the Administrator a link via the “Share Links” button. Add the testing link to the Enter a Submission form under “iOS Build Link”.  Beta by Crashalytics is a free service. Please review the how-to for their Beta Distribution tool.

Administrator UDIDs:

  • iPhone 5 (iOS 8.3) 4c4270daadcf6f2dcd38ef407c38c01c3fa849b8
  • iPhone 5 (iOS 8.3) c94acc0069278cee4b38e4d27ae3f838bf50aa79
  • iPhone 6 (iOS 8.3) ac3c04f10b03e033bc31a0d14146d5740bc7db54
2. TestFlight / iTunes Connect Enter the Administrator’s email address to share a build for testing. The Administrator’s TestFlight account email is: testing@challengepost.com.

Please note that if you add the Administrator as an “External Tester” your Application will need to go through Beta App Review before you can send your build. This could lead to delay and in order for your Submission to be eligible, you must send your test build before the end of the Challenge Submission Period. To learn more about TestFlight via iTunes Connect, please review the iTunes Connect Developer Guide and the TestFlight Video Tutorial.

3. HockeyApp  Send a testing link to the Administrator at: testing@challengepost.com, and add the testing link on the Enter a Submission form under “iOS Build Link”. Please note that there is a fee to use HockeyApp.

4. Diawi Send us your beta file quickly via Diawi. After uploading your file, Diawi creates a unique short URL to access the installation page (for ex: aBcDeF). When opened in Safari on the iOS device, the page will display a link to install the application.  Add the testing link to your submission form under “iOS Build Link”. Please note that you will need to include provisioning for one or more of the UDIDs above. c. Windows Phone applications:Upload an .xap file in the Enter a Submission form or provide a link for downloading your Application in the “Testing Instructions” field on the Enter a Submission form. d. Windows PC:Upload the appropriate installation files (.exe) on the Enter a Submission form or provide a link for downloading your .exe file in the “Testing Instructions” field on the Enter a Submission form. e. BlackBerry:Upload the appropriate installation files on the Enter a Submission form or provide a link for downloading your installation file in the “Testing Instructions” field on the Enter a Submission form. f. Mac OS:Upload the appropriate installation files on the Enter a Submission form or provide a link for downloading your installation file in the “Testing Instructions” field on the Enter a Submission form. g. Web/Mobile Web:Provide a link for accessing your Application on the “Testing Instructions” field on the Enter a Submission form. h. Kindle: Upload the appropriate installation files on the Enter a Submission form or provide a link for downloading your installation file in the “Testing Instructions” field on the Enter a Submission form. (vi) Public Distribution: The Maker may make the Application available to the public via a website or online store, but is not required to do so. (vii) Multiple Submissions: A Maker may submit more than one Submission, however, each Submission must be unique and substantially different each other Submission, as determined by the Poster and/or the Administrator. (viii) SDKs, APIs, & Data: Applications may integrate SDKs, APIs and data, provided the Maker is authorized to use them. (ix) Intellectual Property: Your Submission must: (a) be your (or your team or Organization’s) original work product; (b) be solely owned by you, your team, or your Organization with no other person or entity having any right or interest in it; and (c) not violate the intellectual property rights or other rights including but not limited to copyright, trademark, patent, contract, and/or privacy rights, of any other person or entity. A Maker may contract with a third party for technical assistance to create the Submission provided the Submission components are solely the Maker’s work product and the result of the Maker’s ideas and creativity, and the Maker owns all rights to them. A Maker may submit a Submission that includes the use of open source software or hardware, provided the Maker complies with applicable open source licenses and, as part of the Submission, creates software that enhances and builds upon the features and functionality included in the underlying open source product. By entering the Challenge you represent, warrant, and agree that your Submission meets these requirements. (x) Financial or Preferential Support: An Application must not have been developed, or derived from an Application developed, with financial or preferential support from the Poster or Administrator. Such Applications include, but are not limited to, those that received funding or investment for their development, were developed under contract, or received a commercial license, from the Poster or Administrator any time prior to the end of Challenge Submission Period. The Poster, at their sole discretion, may disqualify an Application, if awarding a prize to the Application would create a real or apparent conflict of interest.  

C. Text Description, Image, and Video Requirements  (i) Text Description: The text description should explain the features and functionality of your Application. (ii) Images: The image(s) should be photographs or screenshots of your working Application. (iii) Video: The video portion of the Submission: a. should be less than five (5) minutes; b. must include footage that clearly explains the Application’s features and functionality through a comprehensive demonstration; c. must be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo, and a link to the video must be provided on the submission form on the Challenge Website; and d. must not include third party trademarks, or copyrighted music or other material unless the Maker has permission to use such material.

5. SUBMISSION RIGHTS

A. Maker Rights: Subject to the licenses described below, any applicable intellectual property rights to a Submission will remain with the Maker. B. Poster Rights:By entering the Challenge, you grant to the Poster, Administrator, and any other third parties acting on the Poster’s behalf, a royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide perpetual license to display publicly and use for promotional purposes the Submission, in perpetuity. This license includes, but is not limited to, posting or linking to the Submission on Poster’s, Administrator’s, and partners’ websites and applications, including the Challenge Website, and display and promotion of the Submission in any other media, worldwide.   C. Submission Display:The following Submission components may be displayed to the public: name, description, images, video URL, website, URL, team members (username only), the Submission category and platform, and submitter type. Other Submission materials may be viewed by the Poster, Administrator, and Judges for screening and evaluation.   D. Makers represent and warrant that the Poster, Administrator, and Challenge partners are free to use Makers’ Submission in the manner described above, as provided or as modified by Administrator, without obtaining permission or license from any third party and without any compensation to Makers.

6. JUDGING

A. Judges: Eligible Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges selected by the Poster (the “Judges”). Judges may be employees of the Poster or external, may or may not be listed individually on the Challenge Website, and may change before or during the Judging Period. Judging may take place in one or more rounds with one or more panels of Judges, at the discretion of the Poster.

B. Criteria: The Judges will score eligible Submissions using the following criteria (the “Judging Criteria”): (i) Quality of Idea (Includes creativity and originality of the idea); (ii) Implementation of Idea (Includes the quality of the design and user experience, as well as the level of difficulty of the analysis performed on the required data); (iii) Clarity and Accuracy of Solution (Includes the completeness of the documentation and the accuracy of the data usage); and (iv) Potential Impact (Includes the extent to which the Application could be useful to researchers, agricultural workers, or consumers). The Judging Criteria above may not apply to every Prize. See section 7 below for the Judging Criteria that apply for each Prize. The Maker(s) that are (a) eligible for a Prize; (b) entered Submission(s) eligible for a Prize based on the Prize-specific category requirements described below in Section 8; and (c) earn the highest overall scores based on the applicable Judging Criteria, will become potential winners of that Prize.

C. Submission Review: JUDGES are not required to test the Application and may choose to judge based solely on the text description, IMAGES and video provided in the Submission.

D. Tie Breaker: For each Prize listed in Section 7 below, if two or more Submissions are tied, the tied Submission with the highest score in the first applicable criterion listed above will be considered the higher scoring Submission. In the event any ties remain, this process will be repeated, as needed, by comparing the tied Submissions’ scores on the next applicable criterion. If two or more Submissions are tied on all applicable criteria, the panel of Judges will vote on the tied Submissions.

7. PRIZES

Winner Prize  Quantity Eligible Makers Applicable Category & Judging Criteria
Best Overall App – Grand Prize US$25,000 1 All except Large Organizations i, ii, iii, iv
Best Overall App – Second Place US$15,000 1 All except Large Organizations i, ii, iii, iv
Best Overall App –Third Place US$7,500 1 All except Large Organizations i, ii, iii, iv
Honorable Mentions US$2,000 2 All except Large Organizations i, ii, iii, iv
Best Open Source App US$2,500 3 All except Large Organizations Must meet category requirements described below in Section 8i, ii, iii, iv
Best Student-made App US$1,500 1 Students (see Section 8 below for eligibility requirements) i, ii, iii, iv
Best Visualization in Time or Space Award US$2,000 1 All except Large Organizations Must meet category requirements described below in Section 8i, ii, iii, iv
Popular Choice Award US$500 1 All except Large Organizations Determined by public voting**
Large Organization Recognition Award Recognition only 1 Only Large Organizations i, ii, iii, iv
  **Please review the ChallengePost Terms of Service at http://ChallengePost.com/terms for voting rules.

8. PRIZE SPECIFIC ELIGIBILITY & CATEGORY REQUIREMENTS A. Best Open Source App Category Requirements For a Submission to be eligible for the Best Open Source App Award, it must meet all of the Submission Requirements in Section 4, and the Maker must make the Application code available to the public at the time of entry under one of the approved open source licenses listed at: http://opensource.org/licenses. Winners of the Best Open Source App Award are eligible to win other prizes described in Section 7, provided they meet any applicable Prize-specific eligibility and category requirements. Such winners are not eligible for the Large Organization Recognition Award, and Large Organizations are not eligible for the Best Open Source App Award.

B. Best Student-made App Eligibility Requirements In addition to the requirements in Section 3, Makers (including all team members, if a team submission) must:

  • be currently enrolled in at least nine credits or three courses, or the equivalent at the time of entry (or must have been enrolled in such credits or courses within the past three months); OR
  • have graduated in the three months prior to the date of entry from either a secondary school or functional equivalent, or an accredited post-secondary institution (e.g., university, community college, technical college).
Winners of the Best Student-made App Award are eligible to win other prizes described in Section 7, provided they meet any applicable Prize-specific eligibility and category requirements. Such winners are not eligible for the Large Organization Recognition Award, and Large Organizations are not eligible for the Best Student-made App Award.

C. Best Visualization in Time or Space Award Category Requirements To be eligible for the Best Visualization in Time or Space Award, a Submission must meet all of the Submission Requirements described in Section 4, and the requirements of one of the following sub-categories: (i) Best Data Visualization of Required Data Over Time The Application includes a visualization tool that allows users to view either: (a) trends through time for multiple variables for the same location, or (b) the same variable(s) across a spatial extent (the entire US, or a region). Makers are encouraged to combine the USDA data with other data. (ii) Best Map Overlay The NASS cropscape, vegscape, and agriculture census maps (and underlying data), and ERS atlases (maps with data) are all mapped at the county level. The Application includes map overlays at the county or state level, and conducts analyses of these map overlays. For example, the analysis could show the number of pixels of corn planted on different soil types in Nebraska, or the distribution of distance between cornfields and bioenergy plants in the Midwest. (iii) Best App Including Crowdsourced Data The Application includes a real-time component by integrating the ability to capture and integrate crowdsourced data in addition to USDA data. Winners of the Best Visualization in Time or Space Award are eligible to win other prizes described in Section 7, provided they meet any applicable Prize-specific eligibility and category requirements. Such winners are not eligible for the Large Organization Recognition Award, and Large Organizations are not eligible for the Best Visualization in Time or Space Award.

9. VERIFICATION OF POTENTIAL WINNERS

A. Verification Requirement: THE AWARD OF A PRIZE TO A POTENTIAL WINNER IS SUBJECT TO VERIFICATION OF THE IDENTITY, QUALIFICATIONS AND ROLE OF THE POTENTIAL WINNER IN THE CREATION OF THE SUBMISSION. The final decision to designate a winner shall be made by the Poster and/or Administrator.

B. Required Forms: Potential winners will be notified using the email address associated with the ChallengePost account used to enter the Submission (the submitter is the “Representative” in the case of a team, Organization, or Large Organization). In order to receive a Prize, the potential winner (including all participating team members in the case of a team or Organization) will be required to sign and return to the Poster or Administrator, affidavit(s) of eligibility (or a similar verification document) and liability/publicity release(s), and any applicable tax forms (“Required Forms”). Deadline for Returning Required Forms: ten (10) business days after the Required Forms are sent.

C. Disqualification: The Poster and/or Administrator may deem a potential winner (or participating team members) ineligible to win if: (i) the potential winner’s Representative or any participating member does not respond to multiple emails or fails to sign and return the Required Forms by the deadline listed above, or responds and rejects the Prize; (ii) the Prize or Prize notification is returned as undeliverable; or (iii) the Submission or the potential winner, or any member of a potential winner’s team, Organization, or Large Organization, is disqualified for any other reason. In the event of a disqualification, the Poster and/or Administrator may award the applicable Prize to an alternate potential winner.

10. PRIZE DISTRIBUTION

A. Substitutions & Changes: The Poster has the right to make a Prize substitution of equivalent or greater value. The Poster will not award a Prize if there are no eligible Submissions entered in the Challenge, or if there are no eligible Makers or Submissions for a specific Prize.

B. Prize Delivery: A monetary Prize will be mailed to the winning Maker’s address (if an individual) or the Representative’s address (if a team or Organization) after receipt of the Required Forms. Prizes will be payable to the Maker, if an individual, to the Maker’s Representative, if a team, or to the Organization, if the Maker is an Organization. It will be the responsibility of the winning Maker’s Representative to allocate the Prize among their team or Organization’s participating members, as the Representative deems appropriate.

C. Prize Delivery Timeframe: Within 45 days of the Poster or Administrator’s receipt of the Required Forms

D. Taxes: Winners (and in the case of team or Organization, all participating members) are responsible for reporting and paying all applicable taxes in their jurisdiction of residence (federal, state/provincial/territorial and local). Winners may be required to provide certain information to facilitate receipt of the award, including completing and submitting any tax or other forms necessary for compliance with applicable withholding and reporting requirements. United States residents are required to provide a completed form W-9 and residents of other countries are required to provide a completed W-8BEN form. Winners are also responsible for complying with foreign exchange and banking regulations in their respective jurisdictions and reporting the receipt of the Prize to relevant government departments/agencies, if necessary. The Poster, Administrator, and/or Prize provider reserve the right to withhold a portion of the prize amount to comply with the tax laws of the United States or other Poster jurisdiction, or those of a winner’s jurisdiction.

Judging Criteria

Quality of Idea (i)
Percentage: 25
Includes creativity and originality of the idea

Implementation of Idea (ii)
Percentage: 25
Includes the quality of the design and user experience, as well as the level of difficulty of the analysis performed on the required data

Clarity and Accuracy of Solution (iii)
Percentage: 25
Includes the completeness of the documentation and the accuracy of the data usage

Potential Impact (iv)
Percentage: 25
Includes the extent to which the Application could be useful to researchers, agricultural workers, or consumers

How To Enter

  1. Go to Click “Register” to sign up for important challenge communications.
  2. Visit the Resources page for a list of the eligible USDA datasets to get you started.
  3. Create your app!
  4. Shoot your demo video and take screenshots of your functioning app.
  5. Provide a way for us to access your app.
  6. Get started on your draft and submit early!