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Chapter Handbook/Chapter 3: How to Start a Chapter

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Start-up Information

The following information should be provided in an application to start or restart an OWASP Chapter:

  • List of the people that are founding the chapter. Each founding member(s) must submit:
    • Statement regarding their professional background or resume, and
    • Statement of why he or she wants to be an OWASP Leader.
  • The geographical area to be covered by the new chapter. Chapter names should represent the immediate city or region that is being served. It is also required that the chapter leader(s) work or live in the immediate geographical area.
  • Acknowledgement that founding member(s) read, understands, and agrees to the terms of the Chapter Handbook.
  • While it is not mandatory, a good understanding of English will help with communication within the OWASP global community.

Requests to start or restart an OWASP Chapter may be initiated through the Chapter Request form. If at any time you wish to leave your position as leader or add a new leader the same form may be used by selecting “Modify Chapter Leadership” from the drop down menu.

New Chapter Approval Process

After receiving the above information via the online form, an OWASP employee will give a cursory check of the above items to ensure new chapter leaders are serious and understand their commitment. Upon review of requester's credentials and resolution of any potential conflicts, the applicant can move forward as a chapter leader. A chapter wiki page and mailing list will be set up for the new leader(s) and the chapter leader(s) will be given an OWASP email account and password to operate as the administrator of the new chapter mailing list. Additionally, every new chapter with at least 2 chapter leaders will be allocated a $500 budget to begin with.  

Chapter Naming

The format used for naming a chapter is: OWASP [Insert City, Region, or Country Name of Chapter]. For example: OWASP Austin, OWASP London, OWASP Malaysia.

It is not necessary to specify your chapter is a “local” chapter, because by definition any chapter is “local”. When registering your chapter name on Linkedin, Meetup, Twitter, or any other social media site this naming convention must be followed as it makes sorting and finding chapters easier. Where the Foundation owns an account with the same service, it is advisable to follow, join, or otherwise link the chapter’s account to the foundation’s.

Geographic area

An OWASP chapter organizes OWASP activity in a given geographical area. A person or a group (the "founding members") can request to start a new chapter in a geographical area not currently served by an OWASP group.

One key to a successful OWASP chapter is selecting the right geographical area. Naturally, the geographical area should not overlap with an existing chapter. OWASP chapters promote face-to-face meetings and the geographical area covered should be no more than a reasonable travel for a meeting. On the other hand, the area should be large enough to serve enough people who are interested in web application security and enough people to be active in the chapter.

If a chapter is to cover a regional or national area, there should be a plan in place to serve all applicable areas.  For instance, both OWASP Germany and OWASP Italy serve an entire nation by hosting larger conference-like meetings in multiple cities throughout the year.  In this way AppSec professionals from the entire geographic region have access.  For example, it would not be acceptable to host OWASP Germany only in a single city and ignore the other regions where a OWASP Chapter is desired.

Student, University, or Academic Chapters

OWASP student, university, academic chapters must follow the same mandatory guidelines set for standard OWASP Chapters, however there are generally special funds and people in place to provide support and guidance for these chapters. Visit the Student Chapters and Academic Supporter pages for details on these guidelines.