New initiative aims to fix unsolved city challenges and connect businesses and investors with new opportunities. Shared city challenges will see an investment of £4 million.
At Smart Cities Realised in Liverpool today, part of the International Business Festival, the new Future State Co-Foundery was launched. Its aim is to provide “a way to use private equity for public good”.
The initiative will connect investors and start-ups with new business opportunities, and help cities get their most pressing challenges solved quickly and affordably.
Defining urgent problems
In the first round of investment, 10 cities will be invited to define three key challenges they face. These need to be problems that don’t yet have a solution in the market.
Liverpool has already signed up as the launch city, and more cities are being invited to join.
The initial 30 problems will be narrowed down, with priority given to those which are shared between multiple cities. The ten cities will govern a venture capital fund of £4 million to invest in start-up companies to build solutions to these shared problems.
There is a £6,000 fee for each city to join the programme.
Win-win-win for wicked problems
Carl Piva, Manager of the Future State Co-Foundery programme, said: “Cities around the world need to do more with less. While residents expect better services, these services often need to be delivered using fewer staff members and within very limited budgets.
"Also, some key challenges remain unsolved without any viable market options.”
He said the initiative would be a “win-win-win” for cities, start-ups and investors.
Piva added: “We think this is a novel way to launch public-private partnerships,” and he urged cities to come forward to share their problems.
James Noakes, Cabinet Member for City Services, Liverpool City Council, commented: “We find, as a local authority, that sometimes we can have great ideas but not the capacity to deliver. We don’t always give ourselves the room to develop new approaches. And yet we still have those knotty, wicked problems and we want to join with other cities to try and address them.”
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