Bloomberg Mayors Challenge awards Philly $1m to grow civic startups

Bloomberg Mayors Challenge Philadelphai Social Enterprise Partnership
City of Philadelphia. The city released this graphic in November.

Philadelphia was selected as one of five winners of the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge, Mayor Michael Nutter announced today.

The city will receive a $1 million innovation prize to create the Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership uniting city government and private startups to solve urban quality of life issues.

“Philadelphia’s selection as a Mayors Challenge winner is a huge honor for our city and a testament to the creative, innovative work that is going on across city government,” Nutter said in a statement.

“Through the Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership, our goal is to explore innovative new approaches to issues affecting cities across the country and ultimately to improve the quality of life for our residents.”

The Partnership will build on recent Philadelphia innovations like the opening of the municipal data trove for use by private citizens and entrepreneurs, according to the Mayor’s Office.

Nutter said in November that the Partnership will establish an executive board of city officials to identify two to three issues affecting Philadelphia each year.

The city will send out a nationwide open call for proposed solutions, bring selected entrepreneurs to the city and pilot their ideas through a “social enterprise accelerator program,” working together with policy and business experts to award early-stage funding to companies with the strongest ideas and helping others find private investments.

The effort will add an estimated 30 new startups to the city each year, the Mayor’s Office said in the fall.

“Procurement processes can stifle innovation and prevent local leaders from solving pressing city problems,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today in a statement.

“Mayor Nutter’s winning idea will help city government leverage innovation and creative talent to tackle an array of major challenges. Bloomberg Philanthropies is eager to see this idea take hold in Philadelphia and across the country.”

Philadelphia was chosen out of a pool of over 300 applicant cities in the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge, which encourages mayors to develop innovative new ways of tackling urban challenges that can be replicated by other cities .

Providence won the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge grand prize of $5 million, while Houston, Chicago and Santa Monica were also awarded $1 million prizes each.


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