The New York-based firm Citymart announced Friday that it is teaming up with the City of Long Beach’s Innovation Team to “connect with new ideas through open challenges to entrepreneurs and citizens.”
The aim of the partnership is to help the city meet innovation challenges, the first of which is making the city more business-friendly, the release stated.
“I’m proud that Long Beach is one of the first cities to implement this new approach to procurement,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “This not only has the potential to save the city money, it’s a great way to support innovation in both the private and public sectors.”
According to the release, Citymart specializes in partnering cities across the U.S. with market-based opportunities to provide affordable, sustainable solutions to a city’s problems. The firm focuses on connecting the city to entrepreneurs to help the city, including creating a hi-tech community and nurturing a talented workforce.
“We’re so excited to be partnering with Long Beach,” said Sascha Haselmayer, founder and CEO of Citymart, in a statement. “We know Mayor Garcia shares our passion for providing swift, effective and affordable solutions for Long Beach residents. This process will help the city further that goal by using its existing resources better to bring new players into the process and open up new possibilities for innovative solutions.”
Garcia’s Innovation Team, or “i-team” was announced in May, led by Mayor Garcia and City Manager Pat West. Its aim is to “design and implement solutions that improve the lives of residents” and was funded by a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
“We will issue an open challenge to market leaders and proven innovators for possible solutions to each particular problem,” Haselmayer said in a statement. “This challenge asks three simple questions: ‘What is your idea for solving the problem, how ready is your solution, and how can we measure its success?’ We’ll be training Long Beach’s leaders to run these challenges and evaluate proposed solutions in a transparent and efficient manner.”
Citymart’s collaboration with the i-team is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, in conjunction with the California Community Foundation.
“We are very excited about Citymart’s partnership with Long Beach, ” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives in a statement. “Citymart’s method of engaging city residents by helping the city to ask the right questions will invite new, breakthrough ideas. We believe Long Beach has the innovators and Citymart’s process will take down the barriers to their participation in public life."
Above, left: image courtesy of Citymart.