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The City is looking for private-sector tech proposals on how to reduce trash and waste

Want to help Philly reach zero waste by 2035? The Pitch & Pilot program has up to $34,000 to help you work on a tech solution.

Center City Philadelphia. (Courtesy Visit Philly/C. Smyth)

The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) released an application on Monday for its new program, Pitch & Pilot, calling for ideas for the public and private sectors to work together on innovative solutions to municipal challenges.

It’s part of a larger plan to use tech to support the economic, social and environmental goals of the City, including the SmartCityPHL Roadmap and IT Strategic Plan, the latter of which was released in October. The program seeks to involve companies in the tech space of all sizes.

The first problem the City wants folks to focus on? Trash.

Litter and waste are issues that residents consistently identify as a key problem, said Joanna Hecht, a City fellow working on the Pitch & Pilot program. Accordingly, OIT is seeking submissions for tech solutions or projects that support the goal of zero waste — that is, “to fully eliminate the use of landfills and conventional incinerators” — by 2035.

“The program is aiming to spur partnerships and create an environment in which the government can collaborate with the private sector,” said Emily Yates, Philly’s smart city director since October.

Those interested in submitting a tech product or solution — what that could mean is being kept broad for now — for consideration should ensure that the project uses an innovative approach to advance the City’s priorities; prioritizes disadvantaged residents and communities; maintains resident privacy and data security; proves its value to the city in the context of a pilot; and has the potential to scale upward, the department said. Though the submission is open to a wide range of ideas, the proposed solution should be something that’s already in the works, OIT said.

Learn more about the submission process here.

The solution chosen will receive up to $34,000 in funding, community engagement and evaluation support, and access to City resources while testing the idea. Applications are open until Jan. 16. Finalists for the program will be notified Jan. 27, and a pitch event will be held late that month to determine a winner. The company or group chosen will work through the spring on its solution, with an estimated end date in June.

OIT said it expects this round of the Pitch & Pilot program to be one of many, and that the program will ultimately get to a place where the office is working on multiple municipal issues a year — as well as will serve as a guide for how the City can work with private entities to solve municipal problems in the future, said Andrew Buss, deputy chief information officer for innovation management.

The OIT team is encouraging women-owned, minority-owned and veteran-owned businesses to apply and is hoping to attract submissions from the Philadelphia region and beyond.

“We want there to be a clear connection to communities that would benefit from these technologies,” Yates said.

Companies: City of Philadelphia / Office of Innovation and Technology

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