US Ignite believes that supporting startups and small businesses is critical to building a thriving community. We foster collaboration between innovators and their communities so that together they can invigorate local economies, inspire community engagement, and improve quality of life for residents.

Our support services guide startups to succeed via proven tools, tested and refined over the past decade. Among the tools we use to connect with innovators are Challenge Competitions. Since 2016, US Ignite has collaborated with municipalities through tech-agnostic competitions that support building a community-wide innovation ecosystem. Other tools we use to support startups and communities in the smart city ecosystem include:

  • Training and mentoring
  • Strategy and vision development
  • Technical assistance in prototype and product development
  • Fundraising and connections to VCs
  • Introductions to commercial and community partners
  • Go-to-market sustainability strategy

Via these mechanisms, US Ignite has helped over 100 startups launch and grow in the smart community ecosystem. Our supported startups and small businesses have raised close to $5 million and created thousands of jobs, while over 50 smart communities have found solutions to address resident needs!

Economic Development via Smart City Technologies

Smart city technologies create new waves of innovation while generating new community services for residents and businesses. Startups and small businesses need training, mentoring, and funding to move innovative ideas into workable prototypes and business models that yield economic development in the smart city ecosystem.

Accelerators and incubators may be the most notable support systems available to startups, but the journey from innovative ideas to thriving businesses relies on multiple supportive actors and tools. A sizable gap exists ahead of and beyond the phases involving accelerators and  incubators. US Ignite fills this gap by linking startups and small businesses to our extensive network of communities that know and drive smart city market trends.


US Ignite’s role along the startup journey

  • Ideation and Concepting Phases: US Ignite helps identify key issues that communities want to solve. Startup teams develop solutions to address these issues via community engagement tools like challenge competitions. Subsequently, US Ignite helps steward startup teams toward the best-fit incubators and accelerators.
  • Commitment and Validation Phases: US Ignite links engaged startups and small businesses to accelerators, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs, venture capital, state, and other funding and mentoring options.
  • Scaling and Establishing Phases: US Ignite matches startups with industry leaders and communities to develop their products around the existing smart city market. Additionally, US Ignite offers startups and small businesses access to communities that will buy and use their solutions. Successful products enable company growth and drive sustainable job creation.

See all news on startups and challenge competitions

Check out specific examples of how US Ignite supported startups and small businesses over the past years.


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