Word came in just before 8 a.m. today from some excited people:

“Yeah baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“The underdogs come out on top! Posing w $3k check,” wrote Adam Klein. (See photo with this story.)

In a real-life “Rocky” style victory, the team that created “The Smoffice” in Durham as an economic development idea has been declared the winner over much larger – and much bigger funded – projects in Doha, Qatar.

“I can’t calm down but when I do I’ll get the blog post up!” Klein told WRALTechWire via email. 

The Durham team was competing for the Most Unconventional Economic Development Project award at the World Chambers Congress. He called the victory a salute to the entire Triangle’s entrepreneurial community. 

“Last night our team was not very optimistic knowing that no U.S. community had ever won an award at this eight annual international event,” Klein noted.

More than 70 communities participated in the competition.

And the contest was truly international. Only seven out of 1,200 attendees were from the U.S., Klein pointed out.

Matthew Coppedge, Casey Steinbacher, and Klein were there on behalf of the “Smoffice” effort. 

Among the competitors:

  • Korea built a system to flag unsafe consumer products.
  • Finland rebuilt an entire communications site and strategy.
  • Slovenia designed a Better Business Bureau-like web site.
  • Germany initiated a slick process for connecting immigrants with high tech job opportunities.

Yet, as Klein noted earlier this week about the presentations:

“Our quirky 25 sq ft office definitely stood out!”

Obviously so.