I’m very happy and humbled to be joining the jury for the first round of Prototype Fund:
“The Prototype Fund is a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Individuals and small teams can apply for funding to test their ideas and develop open source tools and applications in the fields of civic tech, data literacy, data security and more. The application process aims to be as unbureaucratic as possible and is adjusted to the needs of software developers, civic hackers, and creatives. In short: the Prototype Fund brings iterative software development and government funding together. Around 40 projects will be funded over the next three years. The BMBF will grant 1.2 million euros in funding in total.”
I think this type of funding (micro grants, based on very quick and easy submission process, no strings attached) to promote and support community-driven open source projects is priceless. It enables individuals and small teams to explore civic tech and other relevant ideas outside the commercial spectrum, and that’s a very valuable thing to do.
I hope we’ll see more of these types of programs, and that it expands over time.
Also, after seeing the first few submissions I’m excited to see the selected ones grow and mature. And I most certainly hope that for future rounds, more women will consider applying. A 7% share hopefully isn’t representative of even the male-skewing developer world but most certainly isn’t representative of people with great ideas!
Full disclosure: I had submitted a proposal to Prototype Fund as well, which I withdrew when I was asked to join the jury.