When I was 7 years old, public procurement did not occur to me as a future career. And yet here I am, having dedicated the past 25 years helping City Halls connect to new vendors and solutions. What led this 7-year-old Superman into the world of public procurement? When I first began working with cities I kept finding that procurement was a barrier to meaningful change. City employees often told me "Procurement is too complicated." That might be so, but with municipal procurement making up 10% of our economy, I also felt that it was too big to fail.
As I began digging into the the way that cities procure, I saw that nothing in the laws contradict our desires to innovate or improve city services. Yet, all too often, we buy the same products and services from a talent pool that is aging. In fact, on average, just 1% of businesses are registered as vendors with City Halls. So we founded Citymart to open the doors to participation and innovation in a scalable way.
We have succeeded—one transaction at a time—in over 130 cities including New York City, Long Beach (CA), San Francisco, Norfolk, Dublin, Detroit, Tulsa, and Philadelphia. Our procurements have delivered better products, services, and concessions for healthcare, waste, social inclusion, urban lighting, transit, public space, and much more. They also opened a world of opportunity for the best talent and businesses to shine and grow. Here are four outcomes that I hope will inspire you:
- Cities delivered better outcomes by discovering thousands of new solutions
- 46% of winning vendors had not previously worked with the city before
- 89% of contracts went to small, diverse, and creative businesses
- 90% of bidders had never worked with government
- 42% of bids come from minority and women-owned business
- Across all categories cities achieved between 10%-80% in cost savings
I am inviting you to join us, over 1,000 practitioners in City Halls and 25,000 entrepreneurs to elevate our expectations and make every public procurement an opportunity. An opportunity to innovate, to save, to create local growth, and to deliver better results for residents. To help cities get started, Citymart has distilled our experiences into a set of simple digital tools that allow anyone to deliver better procurements with little additional effort.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with your questions, ideas, and stories to share! We are eager to partner to accelerate the rate of change.