Durham To Tech-Savy Entrepreneurs: Help Us Solve City's Problems

Jul 25, 2017

The city of Durham is looking for entrepreneurs to help develop and test products and services for the city.
Credit Tim Bounds / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/TctYiN

Entrepreneurs with ideas to improve city government can test their innovations through a new effort in Durham.

The "Innovate Durham" program would open up the city's resources and databases to entrepreneurs. In turn, private business interests would develop, test, and even scale up innovative solutions to various problems.

In other cities, this partnership has led to improving the purchasing process and testing smart technologies like a robotics waste bin that automatically separates landfill waste from recyclables, according to Josh Edwards, the city's director of performance and innovation.

"Creating a culture of innovation at the city of Durham has given us the opportunity to bring in new ideas and perspectives that then help us improve operations for residents and solve problems in a new way,” Edwards said.

The pilot program will take applications through the end of August.

Similar programs have shown success in cities like Pittsburgh and San Francisco. Durham is the first city in North Carolina to launch one.

"I think the main point is we want to make sure that we connect with the resources that are right in front of us,” Edwards said. “And the technology and startup scene in the Triangle and in Durham is doing really good work."