Amazon Creates Alexa Workshops for Small Tech Entrepreneurs

Amazon Hosting Alexa Skills Development Workshops -- More Small Business Tasks in the Works?

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Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Galvanize, a 21st-century school for entrepreneurs, engineers, and data scientists, are going to be holding Alexa Skills development workshops to teach developers, designers, and technology buffs how to build skills for Amazon Alexa, the operating system for the company’s smart speaker Echo.

Amazon’s Echo has 70.6 percent of the emerging voice-controlled speaker market compared to Google’s 23.8 percent, this according to eMarketer. With such a large share of the market, it means users and businesses will want to integrate the technology to improve their operations. And Amazon is partnering with Galvanize to give small developers the skill sets they will need to make this possible.

What Is an Alexa Skill?

Skills are essentially Alexa‘s voice activated version of an app. And they have many different applications from helping you check your credit balance or make payments to improving your productivity. The Alexa Skills Kit is the tool box designers, developers and brands use to build more skills to engage with their customers, employees, friends and family. The skills kit has self-service APIs, tools, documentation, and code samples to easily and quickly create new skills for Alexa.

Alexa Skills Development Workshops

Galvanize will bring the Alexa skills development workshops to seven locations across the US in 2017 beginning in late August. The instructors at Galvanize have been trained by Amazon Alexa experts so they can teach the latest development to build for voice with Alexa.

You will learn Amazon’s Alexa Skills Kit, AWS Lambda (part of Amazon Web Services), and the Node.js backend JavaScript framework.

Here are the locations where these workshops are being held:

  • Aug. 26: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Aug. 28: Denver, Colorado
  • Aug. 29: New York, New York, and Seattle, Washington
  • Aug. 30: Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, California
  • Aug. 31: Boulder, Colorado

What Can You Build?

Once you have been certified, your skill set gets published in the Alexa Skills Store, where millions of potential customers can seek your services. You will be able to build a voice user interface (VUI) to create an Alexa skill.

Small businesses are using Alexa to order supplies, set reminders, manage to-do-lists, control office equipment and much, much more. But small businesses can also create skills to provide potential customers with certain services, much like business apps created for a mobile device. There are currently more than 15,000 skills, and of course there is a skill that lets you find the best ones, Skill Finder.

Whether you are a freelance developer, a small business owner or someone looking to supplement their income, creation of new skills can be a good business model.

Small Businesses Using Alexa

A great skill example is the one created for Domino’s Pizza. With this skill, you can order a pizza and have Alexa update you on the status of the delivery.

Small restaurant owners can create the same type of skill to update on deliveries, reservations, store times and more. The possibilities are almost limitless.


Amazon and Galvanize are making the workshops available for free. So the only thing you will have to invest is your time and the willingness to learn something with a huge upside. The half-day session doesn’t require any development experience, so anyone can attend.

More workshops will be held throughout the remainder of 2017. Learn more here.

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Image: Amazon

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Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.

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