Kansas City’s program to streamline the integration of technologies into City Hall is set to expand in hopes of attracting more entrepreneurial participation.
The City of Fountain’s Innovation Partnership program plans to ramp up marketing and resources to welcome more companies hoping to test drive their technologies with the city, said Ashley Hand, Kansas City’s chief innovation officer. Hand previously said the goal of the program is to enable entrepreneurs to flesh out their ideas with the assets of City Hall.
“We were looking for different ways to engage entrepreneurs when trying to address issues at city hall,” she said. “But one of the challenges was the budget — we didn’t have any money to really do a lot of that. … This (program) opens up resources by not going through the traditional RFP process.”
In addition to offering outlets for entrepreneurs’ products and services, Hand said that the program also aims to improve citizens’ quality of life. It hopes to accomplish that by creating jobs, helping the city better provide its services as well as meet the city council’s priorities.
To apply, entrepreneurs may answer a five-question application that will be reviewed by a panel at City Hall. If accepted, entrepreneurs have a shot at formally working with the city on an individual contract basis.
Hand said that the city plans to ramp up promotion of the program this summer to learn more on the city’s bandwidth to work with startups.
“One of the goals we’ve outlined in the Digital Roadmap is to expand the program to really see what the full capacity of it is,” Hand said. “Ultimately it will determine if there’s a capacity for the number of entrepreneurs we can work with at a given time. … It’s been purely word of mouth so far. People that have had an idea that hasn’t fit into the traditional RFP process, we’ve put them in through this. We hope to launch it this summer.”
Kansas City, Kan., tech company RFP365 was among the first companies to sign a formal agreement with the City of Kansas City, Mo. RFP365 began offering its software to simplify the city’s formal and competitive procurement bidding process — or RFP process — to evaluate vendors of services. Other companies that have entered into the program include architecture company BNIM, Netherlands-based Urban IQ, and Boston-based Opportunity Space.
For more information on the program, click here.