City of Guelph launches Civic Solutions Accelerator

Program will help City address complex municipal challenges

Guelph, Ont., June 16, 2016 – This afternoon, the City of Guelph launched the Civic Solutions Accelerator that enables the City to work with entrepreneurs, startups, students and companies to create innovative solutions for complex municipal challenges. At the launch, a panel of experts discussed the Accelerator’s potential to help create a civic technology hub in Guelph.

Starting in September, successful applicants will be embedded in City departments to accelerate the development of potential solutions to three published challenges. The application and selection process will be governed by the City’s procurement guidelines. Applicants will be selected based on ability to solve the challenge described and their capacity to create a commercial enterprise that will offer the solution to North America’s $6 billion civic tech market.

The Civic Solutions Accelerator is a partnership with Innovation Guelph, Canada’s Open Data Exchange, Guelph Chamber of Commerce and the University of Guelph’s CBaSE.

Three City challenges

  • How can we enable citizens to detect leaks and reduce water use?
  • How can we maximize the value of parking space in the downtown?
  • How can we make it easier for the public to provide feedback on planning decisions?

The benefits

  • A more accessible procurement process (how we buy products and solutions) will open opportunities to work with the City to more companies, startups and entrepreneurs, which will lead to better solutions for more efficient and modernized services for Guelph citizens.
  • City departments will benefit by gaining a better understanding of long-standing and complex issues that divert time, money and effort away from public service delivery.
  • The successful applicants will benefit from extraordinary access to City employees to develop a deep, comprehensive understanding of the problems civic governments face. They will have access to the mentoring and resources of partner organizations as they accelerate the development of commercially ready solutions for sale to municipalities across Ontario and North America.


Civic Solutions Accelerator partner quotes

Cam Guthrie – Mayor, City of Guelph
Guelph has the opportunity to be a player in the $6 billion North American civic technology market. This is one way our city can carve out our niche in the innovation corridor that stretches from Toronto to Waterloo Region, and make a significant contribution to our region’s thriving innovation and technology sector. The Civic Solutions Accelerator will bolster local expertise and capacity in civic tech – so it’s very good news not only for City services, but for our local economy.

Derrick Thomson – Chief Administrative Officer, City of Guelph
The Civic Solutions Accelerator is a new way for the City to invite the region’s brightest minds and companies to help us address some of our challenges. We are looking forward to working with our partners and the selected applicants to deliver great new services to our citizens.

Kithio Mwanzia – President, Guelph Chamber of Commerce
The civic accelerator provides a unique opportunity to leverage the ingenuity of businesses to help inform the delivery of better and more efficient City services.

Kevin Tuer – Managing Director, Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX)
ODX is proud to be partnered with the City of Guelph, Innovation Guelph, CBaSE and the Guelph Chamber of Commerce on this groundbreaking initiative. The Civic Accelerator and the associated challenge opens up a new era of civic innovation that will illustrate how the collaboration between the City of Guelph and innovative companies, empowered by open data and a common workspace, can lead to the development and deployment of solutions that would otherwise be locked out of a typical procurement process.

Melanie Lang – Director, The Centre for Business and Student Enterprise (CBaSE)
The Civic Solutions Accelerator is yet another example of the strong collaborative relationship between the University of Guelph and the City of Guelph. The project underscores our collective commitment to experiential learning, economic and community development. We are thrilled to be members of the team working on this exciting project.

Jeff Campbell – Mentor, Innovation Guelph
Open Guelph’s Civic Solution Accelerator will, over time, have a profound effect on municipal operations as well as the businesses it accelerates through the solution partners who are accepted. In one motion it lowers the barriers of access to City contracts for startups and innovators, leverages the city’s buying power to enhance competitiveness of these companies, provides an environment for entrepreneurs and innovators to develop deeply relevant and effective solutions while openly including business support services from local, regional a national innovation centres to help ensure commercial success.