October 11, 2017 — Mayor Sylvester Turner announces today that the City of Houston will join the highly successful national Startup in Residence (STIR) program that connects government agencies with start-up companies to create technology solutions for civic challenges.
The city is looking to start-ups for solutions related to Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts and resiliency. These challenges will be refined and published in the coming months, and startups will be selected in early 2018.
“I am thrilled to be joining the national expansion of STIR, a unique program designed to improve government services and foster economic development,” said Mayor Turner. “As the recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey continue, I am committed to harnessing all available tools and leveraging all potential partners for Houston’s comeback.”
STIR began as an experiment in 2014 in San Francisco and has expanded to nearby Oakland, San Leandro, and West Sacramento.
Projects there have included work on issues such as streamlining the foster care application process, creating a mobile solution to support early education outreach and enrollment, and developing tools to assess the damage in the aftermath of a disaster.
This entrepreneurial approach to solving civic challenges aligns with Mayor Turner’s goals of modernizing government and building a vibrant startup community. Last year, the mayor commissioned a Technology & Innovation Task Force to help foster a robust technology and start-up economy. He also created the Mayor’s Office of Innovation to work with the tech and research community on new, inventive solutions for the city’s challenges.
The 16-week program offers education for government and startup staff in areas including partnership, open data, civic technology trends, the technology marketplace, and new methods of product development and procurement.