The City of Kansas City, Mo. is once again looking for entrepreneurs to help develop new innovations to improve the quality and efficiency of city services.
The city is now accepting applications for its Innovation Partnership Program, which is now in its third year of working with entrepreneurs from around the world. The program offers startups and other businesses direct access to develop, test and demonstrate their products and services with the city. After testing the company’s offerings, the city offers valuable feedback on the experience and sometimes a contract.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James said that the program has created significant value for the city and the entrepreneurs with whom it’s worked.
“This program has become a cornerstone of our city’s innovation. We want to constantly improve our city services – and sometimes that means bringing an entrepreneur’s skill set to the table,” James said in a release. “At the same time, we want to be a city that fosters talent and bold ideas – so we’re willing to serve as an R&D partner with these innovators. There is so much we can gain from relationships like this, as a city and as a hub of innovation. I’m excited to see what this year brings.”
KCMO innovation analyst Kate Garman said that startups should consider applying to develop a valuable use case they can take to other prospective clients.
“Previous partners have been able to talk to city staff on identifying improvements, validating what worked, and learned more about how the procurement process,” she said. “Demo Day also provides an opportunity to present your service in front of the mayor and city manager, as well as the civic and entrepreneurial community.”
Garman added that the program also positions the city in front creative people and solutions.
“The city benefits by seeing new emerging technology,” KCMO innovation analyst Kate Garman said. “As there is zero dollars exchanged, it is a unique way for city staff to explore options and solutions. Each partner will get an internal point of contact with a department that best fits with the startup, thus staff can work directly with the technology for a period of 12 weeks.”
In December, seven tech firms that participated in the program presented their projects and businesses as part of a demo day. After paired with a city department, startups are provided city data and access to its infrastructure. Startup partners work closely with the Office of Innovation and receive part-time office space in city hall.
To apply, entrepreneurs may fill out an application that will be reviewed by City Hall. If accepted, entrepreneurs have a shot at formally working with the city on an individual contract basis.
RFP365 was among the first companies to sign a formal agreement with the City of Kansas City, Mo as part of IPP. 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 Integrated Roadways, BNIM, Big Bang, SpiderOak and Boston-based Opportunity Space.
Learn more here.