San Francisco looks to startups to solve city’s problems

“We have the brightest minds to solve our biggest challenges,” said President Barack Obama in a White House address regarding the new management agenda on July 8, 2013. The city of San Francisco is now thinking about using the bright minds of tech-entrepreneurs to help solve the city’s problems, like optimizing energy usage, improving public assets to boost revenue, and streamlining San Francisco’s recruiting and hiring process. Last week the city unveiled its Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) program, which aims to employ tech aficionados to fix these problems found throughout the city.

San Francisco is no stranger to mixing public and private sectors to help overcome problems faced by both. The city started DataSF, a program that makes available many of the city’s datasets, except the classified ones, in an attempt to bolster government accountability and transparency. Applications that have used data made available by DataSF include Crimereports, an app and website that uses San Francisco’s and other cities data regarding local crime and displays them on an interactive map as reports are made, and SFpark.org, an app and website that uses information from Smartmeters in San Francisco to give real time updates about parking availability and prices. San Francisco is now taking their relationship with the tech market a step further and bringing groups of entrepreneurs into City Hall with their EIR program, giving them collaboration space, access to resources, and insight from industry giants.

The most valuable of the perks offered throughout the course of the program is mentorship. Selected startups will have access to both local government officials and Bay Area private sector leaders.  Professionals who will be working with the program include Jay Nath, San Francisco’s first Chief Innovation Officer and the brains behind DataSF, Dave Viotti, Founder and CEO of Smallify, a capacity-building firm based in Silicon Valley that teaches startups how to take their big idea to the next level, and Rebecca Foster, advisor to San Francisco mayor Ed Lee and ex-investment banker at Goldman Sachs.

Not to be confused with more common incubators and accelerators, the EIR program is looking for startups with products that address San Francisco’s pain points and have the scalability to generate large amounts of revenue while significantly impacting the city. Products should show promise of self-sustainability and be currently rolled out or have the ability to be rolled out fairly easily.

The goal of the EIR program is to act as a 4-month launching pad for determined entrepreneurs with great ideas that will start in San Francisco, but demonstrate applicability to help cities across the US. The EIR website uses the example of entrepreneurs creating a product that makes trains run on time, and not an app that tells you how late the train is.

Interested startups can apply for the program via the EIR website. 

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San Francisco looks to startups to solve city’s problems

“We have the brightest minds to solve our biggest challenges,” said President Barack Obama in a White House address regarding the new management agenda on July 8, 2013. The city of San Francisco is now thinking about using the bright minds of tech-entrepreneurs to help solve the city’s problems, like optimizing energy usage, improving public assets to boost revenue, and streamlining San Francisco’s recruiting and hiring process. Last week the city unveiled its Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) program, which aims to employ tech aficionados to fix these problems found throughout the city.

San Francisco is no stranger to mixing public and private sectors to help overcome problems faced by both. The city started DataSF, a program that makes available many of the city’s datasets, except the classified ones, in an attempt to bolster government accountability and transparency. Applications that have used data made available by DataSF include Crimereports, an app and website that uses San Francisco’s and other cities data regarding local crime and displays them on an interactive map as reports are made, and SFpark.org, an app and website that uses information from Smartmeters in San Francisco to give real time updates about parking availability and prices. San Francisco is now taking their relationship with the tech market a step further and bringing groups of entrepreneurs into City Hall with their EIR program, giving them collaboration space, access to resources, and insight from industry giants.

The most valuable of the perks offered throughout the course of the program is mentorship. Selected startups will have access to both local government officials and Bay Area private sector leaders.  Professionals who will be working with the program include Jay Nath, San Francisco’s first Chief Innovation Officer and the brains behind DataSF, Dave Viotti, Founder and CEO of Smallify, a capacity-building firm based in Silicon Valley that teaches startups how to take their big idea to the next level, and Rebecca Foster, advisor to San Francisco mayor Ed Lee and ex-investment banker at Goldman Sachs.

Not to be confused with more common incubators and accelerators, the EIR program is looking for startups with products that address San Francisco’s pain points and have the scalability to generate large amounts of revenue while significantly impacting the city. Products should show promise of self-sustainability and be currently rolled out or have the ability to be rolled out fairly easily.

The goal of the EIR program is to act as a 4-month launching pad for determined entrepreneurs with great ideas that will start in San Francisco, but demonstrate applicability to help cities across the US. The EIR website uses the example of entrepreneurs creating a product that makes trains run on time, and not an app that tells you how late the train is.

Interested startups can apply for the program via the EIR website. 

Did you get your free issue of the Intelligent Optimist?  Click here for a free download.

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