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PRESS RELEASE: Cities practice innovation, prepare to pilot cutting-edge technology

Five cities announce participation in innovation challenges as part of CivStart and National League of Cities program

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 7, 2023) - As a part of a program run by CivStart in conjunction with the National League of Cities (NLC), five US cities have identified key innovation challenges and are preparing to pilot cutting-edge solutions. The City Inclusive Ecosystems (CIE) program helps cities adopt policies, programs, and practices to give underrepresented entrepreneurs more opportunities for economic advancement.

The cities of Grand Rapids, MI; Irmo, SC; Las Vegas, NV; Peoria, IL; and Raleigh, NC are each focusing on distinct technology challenges faced by their communities. Past program participants have identified challenges including permitting and workflow upgrades, GIS technology, community engagement technology, and support for local businesses. Through the program, CivStart provides support and resources to allow cities to practice a more inclusive procurement methodology, investigate their challenges in depth, and pilot a solution to their challenge with a startup partner.

Kathie Brown, Director of Rural Outreach and Development at the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, issued the following statement ahead of the announcement:

"Technology has the potential to enable local governments to offer services and aid businesses in ways that not only can improve customer experience, but also save government time, money, and labor. We're working to develop a learning community of practice in our region that will foster the creation of new technology solutions for local governments that will support the development of start-up businesses."

Don Jacobson, Innovation Department Business Manager at the City of Las Vegas added:

“Las Vegas is a global destination welcoming tens of millions of visitors each year. Such popularity presents both challenges and opportunities for the local economy and for residents in terms of livability, mobility, public safety, and sustainability. The City of Las Vegas government recognizes that innovation and diversity play an important part in delivering the services the community depends on, and strives to position itself as a leader promoting an inclusive economy.”

Erik Sikinger, Town Council Member at Irmo, SC announced:

"Irmo, SC is a growing municipality with no town property tax, so we must find unique and cost-effective solutions to our challenges. We can longer operate under 'business as usual'. The Town of Irmo is excited by the opportunity of working with innovative technology startups with the assistance and leadership of CivStart. It is the hope of our council and administration that this project initiates a new era in the Town of Irmo - cultivating the spirit of entrepreneurship and investing in technology to solve problems."

In addition to the opportunity for local governments to practice innovation and adopt new technologies in a peer-learning environment, the program provides opportunities for a diverse group of civic-minded business entrepreneurs to get a foothold into the govtech market, providing innovative solutions at affordable prices to foster better local governments and communities.

Points of Contact from many participating cities are available for interview upon request.

For more information on the City Inclusive Ecosystems program, CivStart, or any of the challenges participating cities are tackling with affordable and innovative solutions, please reach out to Nick Lyell at nlyell@civstart.org or (608) 234.2166.


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