Item - 2019.GL3.8

Tracking Status

GL3.8 - Startup in Residence Pilot Project for the City of Toronto

Decision Type:

Committee Decision

The General Government and Licensing Committee:


1.  Requested the Deputy City Manager, Corporate Services, the Chief Information Officer, and the Chief Purchasing Officer, in consultation with the Chief Transformation Officer and the Director, Civic Innovation Office, to consider adopting a Startup in Residence program, similar to those implemented by the City of Guelph and the Municipal Innovation Exchange, and whether the City of Toronto should:

a.  Join an existing Startup in Residence network, such as the Municipal Innovation Exchange which was recently founded by the City of Guelph, the City of London, and the City of Barrie;

b.  Operate its own Startup in Residence program, as seen in some U.S. cities; or

c.  Operate its own Startup in Residence program, in alliance with other cities and/or government agencies in the Greater Toronto Area.

and report to the General Government and Licensing Committee at its meeting on May 21, 2019.


(March 18, 2019) Letter from Councillor Paul Ainslie


I am requesting the members of the General Government and Licensing Committee consider the following initiative to advance technological use in the City of Toronto municipal government by the creation of a Startup in Residence (STIR) pilot project dealing with procurement and e-procurement.


The purpose of the STIR program is to act as a lead for procurement reform, to introduce City agencies, departments, commissions, and boards to new innovation and technologies, and to serve as an incubator to introduce the necessary procurement reforms needed to allow increased innovation to continue for the long term. These products will enhance government productivity, efficiencies, and help improve the resident experience with municipal government. Several U.S. and Canadian cities have achieved similar results with STIR programs since 2014 in cities large (San Francisco, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh) and small (Guelph), among others.


The STIR program solicits proposals from startups for technology-based solutions to address procurement and e-procurement challenges facing City agencies, departments, commissions, and boards. “Technology-based solutions” means on-premise software, mobile apps, hosted software, information technology hardware, and/or any combination thereof.


The STIR program includes an educational component during the residence period for the selected participants and corresponding City agencies consisting of in-person and web sessions with leaders in the business, legal, finance, investment, and consulting sectors, as well as government executives, innovators, academics, and researchers. The educational component aims to help STIR participants learn about navigating government partnerships, the government procurement process, open data and systems integration, and civic tech trends. City leaders will learn about the technology marketplace, developing modern technology solicitations, and how to approach building a technology product.


Our municipal government needs to be looking to identify more fluid pathways to work with smaller technology companies. This has typically left government with two options: (1) use technology intended for Fortune 500 companies and large enterprises, or (2) develop a collection of customized solutions that require a significant investment of time and resources. The STIR program aims to bridge this gap by connecting public sector agencies directly with technology entrepreneurs to seed product development in the public sector. With thousands of policy challenges, government has the potential to support a large ecosystem of best-of-breed technology solutions helping to catalyze public sector innovation and productivity.

Background Information

(March 18, 2019) Letter from Councillor Paul Ainslie on Startup in Residence Pilot Project for the City of Toronto


Brian Kelcey, Toronto Region Board of Trade


Motion to Adopt Item moved by Councillor Paul Ainslie (Carried)
Source: Toronto City Clerk at