The Civic Accelerator: A Guelph Experiment

The Guelph Civic Accelerator: A Public Procurement Experiment is a new case study produced by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship. This case study looks at the Guelph Civic Accelerator pilot project, a collaboration between the City of Guelph and the Guelph Lab, which is breathing new life into traditional public procurement.

Public procurement – the act of government purchasing goods and services – is an important topic for policymakers these days. A responsive procurement process enables governments to efficiently select high-quality vendors, resulting in the provision of well-run services to citizens. Government can also become an anchor customer for smaller, innovative companies, thereby supporting and nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Given procurement’s integral importance to well-functioning public service, discussions about how to improve procurement processes are in high demand. The need for these conversations is one of the reasons why Guelph’s Civic Accelerator pilot project has caught the attention of governments and procurement aficionados across Canada. The Guelph Civic Accelerator is changing the way government approaches procurement within the existing regulatory context, creating more commercialization opportunities for startups, and catalyzing long overdue discussions on how government can leverage its strengths and work more collaboratively to deliver more accessible and responsive public services.

Read this case study to help you:

  • Understand traditional government procurement practices and how Guelph’s Civic Accelerator has innovated the process within the existing policy framework.
  • Learn about the role of government in supporting early-stage companies through co-development and procurement of goods and services.
  • Learn more about how Guelph’s Civic Accelerator pilot project could inform similar practices in other municipalities.

We asked for key insights on how the Guelph Civic Accelerator team was able to make this new, alternative process a success. We recommend governments that are keen to innovate their own procurement processes do the following:

  • Consider how existing procurement regulations and protocols may provide an opportunity for experimentation and innovation.
  • Work closely with legal and procurement teams – relationships matter.
  • Identify champions, both within government and in the local innovation ecosystem.
  • Design your request for proposal (RFP) with early-stage companies in mind.
  • Prioritize data-driven policy making, with a focus on experimentation and iteration

For media enquiries, please contact Coralie D’Souza, Director of Communications, Events + Community Relations at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.

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