Want to be a smart cities entrepreneur? San Francisco will help you

Thu, 2013-09-19 06:00 -- Jesse Berst

San Francisco and the nearby Silicon Valley have already proven the value of attracting world-class software talent. Now the City of San Francisco wants that talent to turn its attention to smart city projects.

One way to attract entrepreneurs is with venture money. Although San Francisco isn't offering any funding as part of the program described below, it is close to the biggest venture capital hot spot in the world. But another way to get entrepreneurs salivating is to offer them a "springboard market" -- a nearby local market that can act as a test bed and proof of concept before scaling up to the rest of the world.

That's what San Francisco is putting into place for smart city developers. So is London, with Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago, Singapore and New York not too far behind. Is your city doing anything to attract the entrepreneurs who can build the apps to improve city conditions while also bringing in jobs? Or will you stand by as those entrepreneurs migrate to the cities mentioned above? -- Jesse Berst

San Francisco Mayor's Office -- In Collaboration with the White House -- Launches Initiative to Attract Entrepreneurs to the $142 Billion Public Sector Market  

Mayor Edwin M. Lee invites entrepreneurs to develop technology-enabled products and services for government, the largest consumer of products and services in the nation

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Mayor Edwin M. Lee, in collaboration with the White House and other strategic partners such as Fuse Corps, announced last Friday San Francisco's Entrepreneurship-in-Residence (EIR) program.

"We need the top entrepreneurs to work with us on opportunities that are actual pain points and needs of government. San Francisco's EIR program advances our role and vision as the Innovation Capital of the World," said Mayor Ed Lee.

The program is inspired by President Obama's call, "We've got to have the brightest minds to help solve our biggest challenges." San Francisco's EIR program will select talented entrepreneurial teams and help them develop technology-enabled products and services that can capitalize on the $142 billion public sector market.

"Products and services that successfully solve issues faced by San Francisco can easily expand to addressing similar needs of other cities and states across the nation in addition to the private sector," said Rahul Mewawalla, a senior executive with Nokia, NBC, GE, Comcast and Yahoo! and Fuse Corps executive fellow, who is leading the program. "We expect to drive significant innovation and growth in areas of pressing importance such as data, mobile and cloud services, healthcare, education, transportation, energy and infrastructure."

The program plans to attract world-class entrepreneurs and technologists by providing them with direct access to government needs and opportunities, staff and their expertise, in addition to product development, ramp-up support, and insights into a gold mine of government problems and opportunities through the City and County of San Francisco.

"San Francisco's program is one of the first EIR programs within government, which is, by far, the largest customer of products and services in the nation," commented Jay Nath, San Francisco's Chief Innovation Officer. "The entrepreneurial products and services developed through San Francisco's EIR program should drive significant impact such as increased revenue, enhanced productivity or meaningful cost savings."

San Francisco's EIR program will offer selected teams mentorship from senior public leaders across the Mayor's office and San Francisco departments and from private sector leaders with experience at companies such as McKinsey & Company, General Electric, Yahoo!, Nokia, NBC Universal, and Goldman Sachs. 

The program expects to select 3 to 5 teams and announce the selected teams in early October, during San Francisco's Innovation Month. The program will run 16 weeks from mid-October, 2013 through mid-February, 2014. Entrepreneurial teams are invited to learn more and apply at https://startupinresidence.org/