Boosting Economic Growth Through the Smart City Ecosystem
US Ignite works with municipal leaders across the United States to build and expand smart cities. To better support the smart city ecosystem and develop locally-inspired economies, communities must identify and scale innovative solutions envisioned by startups and small businesses. With this in mind, we launched InnovateSLC, a smart city accelerator program designed to support local startups and provide Salt Lake City (SLC) with innovative solutions for some of its most pressing challenges. InnovateSLC aims to equip startups to enter the smart city market with connections, tools, and the knowledge needed to deliver smart solutions for the city.
Each year, several startups will be selected for InnovateSLC’s 12 weeks of mentoring led by a business advisor from the Salt Lake Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and supported by a team of VentureCapital.Org mentors. Ultimately, these budding businesses will accelerate go-to-market strategies, raise funds, and commercialize their efforts.
"VentureCapital.Org is excited to begin this new partnership with US Ignite. This is a huge opportunity for Salt Lake City startups in the smart city market space. This initiative will spark more exciting innovation and development of the smart city ecosystem, and we’re grateful to our partners for helping us move this effort forward.” Trent Christensen, CEO and President of VentureCapital.Org
Thanks to the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Agency (EDA) funding, startups can participate in InnovateSLC free of charge. In addition to delivering their pitch to potential investors and city officials at the programs’ culminating “Demo Day,” InnovateSLC participants will gain access to US Ignite’s network of smart city leaders and subject matter experts.
US Ignite identifies and aligns with the priorities set by local communities. For this initiative, we looked to Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s plan for inspiration, examining three theme areas for the InnovateSLC training:
- Environmental Stability
- Disaster Preparedness
- Community Engagement
The InnovateSLC application period for the inaugural cohort runs through December 31, 2021. Startups that want to develop or who already possess a solution or product that impact environmental sustainability, public transportation, energy consumption, or city livability and workability, should fill out an application at: https://gust.com/organizations/investors-choice
*Startups interested in joining future cohorts can sign up here to be notified when the next application period opens.*
Through InnovateSLC, we expect to prove that matching a startup solution to a community’s obstacles yields economic growth. With the proper support and knowledge sharing, startups can enter and improve the smart city ecosystem, and in the process of doing so, create local jobs and improve the overall quality of life for residents. InnovateSLC offers a prime opportunity to identify concrete examples illustrative of this economic dynamic while making Salt Lake City a more environmentally friendly and safe place to live, work, and play.