Shopify challenges its partners to build an app that helps entrepreneurs during COVID-19


Shopify has launched a new initiative that challenges teams within its partner network to build an app that helps businesses adapt and grow online during the COVID-19 crisis.

“This challenge aims to empower the Shopify developer community, and to focus your creative and technical efforts on critical problem areas.”

The Shopify App Challenge is seeking solutions to problems such as moving from offline to online, communicating with customers, pickup and delivery, and increasing online sales. The challenge asks teams to compete over four weeks, with a chance to win from a $100,000 USD prize pool, including $1,000 USD in ad credits and the ability to be featured on the Shopify app store. Winners will also get access to consultation with the e-commerce company’s product and engineering team.

“The onset of COVID-19 has changed the way local businesses must run,” Shopify said on the challenge’s webpage. “Over four weeks, this challenge aims to empower the Shopify developer community, and to focus your creative and technical efforts on critical problem areas.”

Throughout the challenge, Shopify will offer tutorials, workshops, and support as participants develop their idea into an app. The workshops will include lessons on building an app, getting ready for the Shopify app store, pricing models, marketing, and managing the app.

Submissions will be scored on the business case, creativity, technical viability, and user experience of the app. Shopify said it does not expect a polished app but it is looking for meaningful progress.

RELATED: Shopify’s email marketing tool Shopify Email launches globally

Shopify has launched several support initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It added $200 million to Shopify Capital, its fund which supports its merchants with small loans, to support impacted businesses.

The Ottawa-based company also is letting retailers use Shopify POS to offer in-store or sidewalk pick up for online retailers. Shopify CEO and founder Tobi Lütke and his wife Fiona McKean also pivoted their philanthropic organization focused on climate change tech solutions to help fight COVID-19.

Judges for the Shopify App challenge include the company’s chief technology officer Jean-Michel Lemieux, chief operating officer Harley Finkelstein, UX director Amy Thibodeau, vice president and general manager of platform Brandon Chu, and senior strategic partnerships lead Fatima Yusuf.

The competition is only available to members of Shopify’s partner network. Submissions will be open from May 1 to 10, and the winners will be announced on May 19.

Image source Unsplash. Photo by Gilles Lambert.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.