Philly’s proposed startup incubator in the running to win $5m in national civic contest

Philadelphia has been selected as one of 20 finalists in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, Mayor Michael Nutter announced today.

The city entered into the contest a submission detailing the Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership, a proposed initiative run in collaboration with the GoodCompany Group through which city government would help incubate private startups aimed at solving quality of life issues.

The initiative would establish an executive board of city officials to identify problems and provide data and feedback, then send out a nationwide open call for possible entrepreneurial solutions. City officials would partner with policy and business experts to help the selected companies grow, awarding top solutions with early-stage funding and helping others find private investments.

The partnership would add 30 new startups to the city each year, according to a release, increasing the region’s reputation as an entrepreneurial hub and creating a sustainable process for government-facilitated innovation.
“I am thrilled that Philadelphia has been selected as a finalist for the
Mayors Challenge,” Nutter said in a statement. “Our goal is to solve
major urban issues by taking a different approach than before. In
Philadelphia, we recognize the new ways to engage with citizens and
welcome the innovative solutions that they may have for some of the most
daunting challenges we face.”

The submission was reviewed by a specially-convened selection committee co-chaired by head Shona Brown and chosen as a competition finalist out of submissions from 305 cities in 45 states.

A team from Philadelphia will attend the two-day Bloomberg Ideas Camp in New York City later this month, where they will further refine their idea and go on to receive additional technical support in preparation for final submission. The Philadelphia team will then compete with 19 other cities for a $5 million grand prize or one of four additional $1 million prizes, which money would be used to jump start the Social Enterprise Partnership’s implementation. Winners will be announced in spring of 2013.

The Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge was created to encourage innovative municipal government ideas that have the potential improve civic life and serve as models for other cities around the country.