As I’ve come to realize, government and industry play an important role in supporting each other. There are many
emerging technologies — see graphene — which without government investment in commercializing the technology, may never make it out of the research labs. Government Chief Information, Innovation, and Technology Officers have come to realize this, as reported by GovTech, and are doing their share to support start-ups, and therefore their communities.
Local governments have begun hosting workshops, concerts, and even creating business incubators to help small start-up companies get off the ground. For example, the City Council of Murrieta, California is putting its old City Hall to use by allowing it to be used by several start-ups as an incubator itself. Getting tired of its residents commuting to tech jobs in other cities, they decided to do something about it. The old City Hall building will be rented out at $1 for the start-ups it chooses to house. The hope is that the start-ups will stay and and add jobs to the city in the future; the city will be targeting biotech companies specifically, hoping that getting several in one place will foster collaboration and innovation.
About the incubator, Bruce Coleman, Murrieta’s economic development director had this to say:
“We have to be very careful that we are including companies that really do have the potential to grow locally in the Murrieta area — and then create jobs … It’s our responsibility, at the local government level, to encourage the private sector to want to grow in our community and find a mechanism to grow.”
As the government looks to help startups, startups are also looking to help government. There is an increasing number of startups seeking to help improve government — one could point to GovLoop as an example — which is being recognized at Startup Weekend events. Recently, Startup Weekend GOV in Seattle was the first Startup Weekend catering specifically to government-centric startups.
Do you think that continued collaboration between startups and government is the way to economic prosperity?