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Leap into Innovation with the Small Places, Big Ideas Cohort

Posted on August 21, 2019


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This blog post includes an FAQ for our Small Places, Big Ideas Innovation Cohort, supported by ELGL and UrbanLeap. The cohort is comprised of ten progressive cities from across the USA ranging from Portland, Maine to San Luis Obispo, California. UrbanLeap will provide a communications platform for our cohort members and vendors to help manage these innovative projects. We are excited to welcome proposals from small startups, large solution providers, or smart city consultants. Proposals are due by September 9. 


What sort of innovation is the cohort looking for?

The Small Places Big Ideas Innovation Cohort is looking for innovations in two areas:

  • Mobility
    We are looking for new solutions and technology upgrades to radically improve the mobility of our residents. Our communities are growing and changing. We’re expecting a lot more from our transportation infrastructure than we used to. People spend more time and money commuting and our municipalities spend on infrastructure to support new development while having to maintain the underutilized assets left behind. Whether it’s implementing alternative funding sources for sidewalk and road maintenance or preparing for a future with autonomous vehicles operating on complete streets, local governments need partners in these endeavors.
  • Engagement 
    We are also looking for new solutions and technology upgrades to create more active, reciprocal dialogue, and input between government staff and citizens that is inclusive of a wide range of residents across age, socioeconomic background, and race and communicate across languages to non-English speaking communities. In addition, we would like to encourage and facilitate more civic engagement and citizen volunteers who can be a voice on behalf of the community.

Who can submit proposals?
Any solution provider who has a technology or process innovation that can drive urban mobility innovation or better engagement and deliver meaningful outcomes. We welcome proposals from small startups, large solution providers, or smart city consultants.

We are looking for proposals with pilots that can demonstrate meaningful results, ideally in 6-9 months.

What makes the Small Places Big Ideas Innovation Cohort special?
The cohort is comprised of ten progressive cities from across the USA ranging from Portland, Maine to San Luis Obispo, California.  In addition, there is an additional set of ten cities engaged in the cohort as ‘mentors’.

The cohort is leveraging UrbanLeap’s cloud-based innovation platform to manage the entire process including evaluating proposals, managing pilots, and sharing learnings. UrbanLeap’s platform and expertise enable this distributed set of communities to work effectively as a virtual team and substantially increases the odds of successful pilots.

What will this cost the solution provider to participate?
The estimated cost and resources required to execute a pilot should be included in your proposal. It is expected that subsequent adoption and deployment of the solution by city members of the cohort will be negotiated separately by that city as appropriate.

Why should a solution provider participate?
This is a wonderful opportunity for solution providers to demonstrate their technology or process innovations in a very dynamic environment. Solution providers will have the opportunity to demonstrate the efficacy of their solutions in one or more of these communities while having direct engagement with the entire cohort. In addition, the progress of the cohort is being closely monitored by the entire ELGL membership base which includes over 4,000 local government leaders representing all regions across the USA.


Questions? Contact Emily Edmonds at [email protected] for more information. 

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