Government Challenges Can Offer Launching Pad for Innovative Solutions

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Mary Louise Madigan: (216) 698-2521, 

Cuyahoga County Forms Relationship with Nationally-Renowned City Innovate STiR Program

— Cuyahoga County is joining City Innovate’s Startup in Residence (STiR) Program to engage with startups across the country in developing solutions to local challenges. This program will provide the opportunity to tap in to emerging technologies, enhance innovation and entrepreneurship and create change through leading by example both locally and nationally.

City Innovate is a nonprofit dedicated to helping governments address their community’s challenges through emerging technologies. Through the STiR Program’s 16-week project period, startups can work directly with County agencies to solve current challenges through a technological lens.

“Local governments around the country are utilizing startups to solve problems in their community,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “Whether it’s working to increase access to public transportation or decrease the time it takes to become a foster parent, these solutions can be adapted to fit our needs. With this program, we get the benefit of innovative solutions with little financial risk.”

In Summer 2019, the Office of Innovation and Performance (OIP) will work with County staff to identify current challenges. City Innovate will then conduct a nationwide request for proposal (RFP) process using the challenges identified by the County. OIP will work with departments on a selection committee for each challenge submitted to City Innovate. The selection committee will then review any startups that apply for Cuyahoga County challenges and select a startup if a strong candidate is provided.

During the project period, startups will immerse themselves in the work of the department to understand the problem and develop a tech solution. At the end of the 16-week project, the startup presents its prototype and its perceived benefits. The County can then choose to enter into a contract with the startup and implement the established plans.

“The STiR program is an innovative program that has had a lot of success in cities like San Francisco, Memphis and Peoria, and we are excited to bring this new program to the County,” said Chief Innovation and Performance Officer, Catherine Tkachyk. “Utilizing City Innovate’s program will allow us to tap into their current network of over 1,000 startups and expand that network into Cuyahoga County to solve challenges we face as an organization.”