Applications are now open for Startup in Residence 2017, a 16-week program that connects municipal governments in Northern California with startups that want to create new technologies that tackle housing, transportation, the environment, public safety and other community challenges.
The application is available on Startup in Residence’s website, where it will remain open until Monday, April 10. This program began in 2014 with a similar effort in San Francisco. In 2016, it expanded to Oakland, San Leandro and West Sacramento, all of which are participating again this year.
For the 2017 program, interested technologists can apply to face 20 challenges, taking on projects that include safe and clean streets, good governance, civic engagement/wayfinding, and economic development and financial empowerment. This initiative is the work of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, which partners with the cities of Oakland, San Leandro and West Sacramento.
“We want to create solutions in government with our partners to make innovation work for the public good,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. “The Startup in Residence program brings us expert volunteers who will help the city address critical civic challenges with cutting-edge ideas.”
STiR’s track record is impressive, and past participants have created solutions to help streamline foster care, recover from earthquakes, and give services to the homeless in real time. In addition to these tangible benefits, STiR also has more abstract benefits for San Francisco and the other participating cities, as it amplifies the Bay Area’s role as a pioneering region in civic technology and helps local governments improve upon technological challenges.
While previously discussing the program, San Francisco Chief Innovation Officer Jay Nath, who heads the SF Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, has said the program impacted how the city procures and deploys tech.
“After our first year of STiR, we learned that navigating the procurement process [of the program] would be a bigger challenge than we anticipated for both startups and government departments,” Nath said in Aug. 2016. “From this experience, we replaced our application form with a streamlined RFP that took startups less than an hour to complete and government departments only days to draft.”