Civic Accelerator

Open Government, Open Innovation

The Civic Accelerator is a pilot project that enables the City of Guelph to engage in open innovation with entrepreneurs, startups, students and companies to create solutions for complex municipal problems.

This solutions-oriented approach will benefit the operations of the City, the Guelph community as well as the individuals and teams who intend to commercialize the solutions developed in the Accelerator.

The opportunity

The Accelerator is an opportunity to:

  • Engage city staff in new approaches to their work that are anticipated to generate tangible results and build a sense of accomplishment and increased workplace satisfaction.
  • Make City procurement more accessible through an open innovation process
  • Help companies innovate and bring new products/services to market, driving local economic growth (civic tech is a $6.4-billion industry in the U.S.)
  • Create opportunities for new business models that benefit the City and its constituents
  • Test new ways of serving citizens better and delivering more value for each taxpayer dollar spent.

Potential outcomes

It is vital to properly define success and set expectations for the Accelerator. Possible outcomes from the pilot program include:

  • City managers and staff will gain a deeper understanding of a problem and learn about alternative approaches and ideas leading to a solution.
  • City staff will gain a clear line of sight to potential options – options may include continued interaction with the Solution Partner to further develop a solution, or the preparation of a detailed RFP that will produce the most appropriate, most cost-effective solution.
  • As “Solution Partners”, the companies will benefit from extensive access to City staff. As a result, the Solution Partners gain a detailed understanding of the issue leading to fast prototyping and testing of their solution for commercial viability with potential sale to the City of Guelph as well as to other public- or private-sector customers.


The Civic Accelerator was developed in conjunction with the Guelph Lab, the City of Guelph’s civic innovation partnership with the University of Guelph. The Accelerator is being run by the City of Guelph in partnership with Innovation Guelph, the Guelph Chamber of Commerce, Canada’s Open Data Exchange and the U of G’s Centre for Business and Student Entrepreneurship (CBaSE).