Citymart asked city officials around the world to give us their best ideas for how to finance innovation in government, and they came up with a solid list of actionable and verified concepts from experience. Here are their top eight proposals:

  1. Open challenges: soliciting new ideas with an opportunity for the challenge winner to pilot their solution.
  2. Venture funds: enabling venture capitalists to invest in city service delivery.
  3. Open problems & data: unveiling problems and assets in a user-friendly manner to encourage ideation.
  4. Pay for Success models: contracts that are paid for by outcomes, usually through forms of commissioning and contracting like social impact bonds.
  5. Refinancing: refinancing existing city service contracts to free up funds that can be invested in city services.
  6. Long-term private investment: sponsors and angel investors who seek long-term return could support innovation.
  7. Crowdfunding: existing crowdfunding platforms like ioby can help cities raise money for innovative projects.
  8. Foundation grants: utilizing foundation funding to fund risky bits of innovation with transformative potential.

The common thread among these ideas? Cities need to focus on solving problems, reaching more relevant vendors, and creating diversified financial ecosystems to fund innovation appropriately. With Citymart BidSpark, city staff can achieve all of this by engaging more diverse and high-quality  bidders with their procurements. Citymart has helped cities:

  • Outline a problem that needs to be solved and design solid projects with success metrics in mind from the start.
  • Identify the resources and assets already available to solve that problem and the resources still needed.
  • Get market insights on available solutions to their problem, including different financing options.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to explore new financing opportunities.
  • Engage the market proactively to attract much higher numbers of more diverse bids, including SBEs and MWBEs.

These ideas on how to finance innovation in city halls were collected at peer-learning sessions with cities including London, Barcelona, Dublin, and more.


Find out how Citymart can help you innovate procurement with BidSpark today.

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