Local and National Startups Invited to Help Solve Challenges in Government

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Devyn Giannetti: (216) 443-8393; dgiannetti@cuyahogacounty.us 

County's Partnership with City Innovate Will Utilize Startups to Brainstorm Solutions

— The Cuyahoga County Office of Innovation and Performance is engaging startups from around the country to come up with solutions to the challenges the County faces. We are partnering with City Innovate’s Startup in Residence (STiR) Program to conduct a nationwide challenge-based request for proposal (RFP) process using challenges identified by the County targeted toward both local and national startups.

The STiR Program works 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.

Throughout the summer of 2019, the Office of Innovation and Performance worked with County staff to identify current challenges. Six comprehensive challenges were developed and submitted to City Innovate. These include:
  1. An automated, easy-to-use travel reporting solution for Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services staff completing required home visits, visiting children in foster homes and facilitating visitations between children and parents or other family members.
  2. An automated solution for tracking outreach and collection efforts related to delinquent real estate taxes used by the Cuyahoga County Delinquent Tax Outreach Unit.
  3. A robust, easy-to-use solution to automate key program management functions for the Cuyahoga County Office of Early Childhood’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten program.
  4. A market-facing, easy-to-use solution for the Cuyahoga County Department of Development to better inform business decision-makers of available land and buildings for business attraction, growth and expansion for the county’s 59 municipalities.
  5. A seamless solution to improve access management of the Cuyahoga County Jail for the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department.
  6. An easy-to-use solution for the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department to improve scheduling for corrections staff and allow leadership to visualize time and attendance data.

“As a County we looked at our pain points and thought about what ideal solutions for improvement could look like,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “The STiR Program can connect us with startups with the technological expertise and fresh perspective we need to improve systems at the local level.”

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 whether or not to enter into a contract with the startup and implement the established plans. If the County chooses not to enter into a contract, then there is no cost to the County.

“We’re thrilled to have Cuyahoga County join STiR and be part of a growing movement of governments harnessing the power of startups and innovators to improve their communities,” said Co-Executive Director of City Innovate, Jay Nath.

Proposals are accepted exclusively online through City Innovate’s application portal. Proposals are due by November 20 at 5 p.m. PST. Applicant interviews will be held November 21-December 20, with selection taking place on December 20. Scoping workshops will take place January 14-25, 2020, and the residency will begin January 28, 2020.

“We are excited to test out the Startup in Residence Program in Cuyahoga County,” said Director of Innovation & Performance, Catherine Tkachyk. “The creative solutions this program will help us implement can guide us toward an even more innovative way of thinking about how we do things at the County.”