The City of Philadelphia wants to play matchmaker - Philly


Apr. 20, 2016 9:52 am

The City of Philadelphia wants to play matchmaker

The city's new RFP board plans to feature gigs from universities, utilities and large corporations. First up: PGW.
The Commerce Department wants to help utilities like PGW and PECO work with startups.

The Commerce Department wants to help utilities like PGW and PECO work with startups.

(Photo by Flickr user Jenny Kellerhals, used under a Creative Commons license)

The city’s Commerce Department launched an RFP board to connect startups with anchor institutions that “might not have the flexibility internally to try new ideas to solve problems,” said the Commerce Department’s Rebecca Lopez-Kriss. She means: city agencies, utilities like PGW or PECO, universities or large corporations, organizations that aren’t as connected to the local tech scene.

The first pilot listed is from PGW, which is looking for an app that can pull in location-based data. It’s free to post a pilot.

See the listing

It’s an evolution of the city’s efforts to rethink procurement, which have largely focused on hiring startups for city contracts. In the last three years, it launched a website to post small contract opportunities, hired a technology procurement advocate* and created an accelerator for startups that were interested in working with the city.

The city’s not the only one who’s trying to make connections between startups and large institutions. That’s the goal of the Chamber of Commerce’s Health Care Innovation Collaborative “Call for Ideas.” It’s also the idea behind Introduced, an event we’re organizing during the business conference at Philly Tech Week 2016.

Matchmaker seems like a good role for the Commerce Department to play, since city government has such broad reach.

*Tech procurement advocate Todd Baylson left the city when the Nutter administration ended.


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