Wouldn’t government be better if it worked more like the internet — if it were more open, efficient and collaborative? That’s the goal of Code for America (CfA). They see governments being burdened with outdated and inefficient software and work with city managers to identify projects that can benefit from web-based solutions. They aim to reboot government, if you will. On their website, they also point out the tremendous business opportunity that exists as IT spending by government will far outpace spending in the video game and app markets. Their solution is the CfA Accelerator — “an early stage seed startup accelerator focused on the civic space.” They define civic startups as follows:
1) they provide services on top of open government data;
2) they bring modern web technologies directly to governments;
3) they change the way citizens ask, get, or need services from government.
The CfA Accelerator program provides $25,000 in grant money, access to industry and civic leaders and government decision-makers, and training on how to grow and market a business. They’ll even provide office space in San Francisco for those who want it. One example of a civic startup they give is SeeClickFix. It’s a web/smartphone app that allows citizens to publicly document something they want fixed in their community. These reports are received by both the media and the government.
The CfA Accelerator program lasts for four months. It starts in August. The deadline for applications is June 1, 2012. If you think you’re company is a good fit, you can apply here.