National League of Cities Announces $100 Million in Partnerships to Support Entrepreneurship, STEM Education and Innovation in Communities Across America

City innovation ecosystem
City innovation ecosystem

Today, the National League of Cities (NLC) is announcing $100 million in local partnerships to expand America’s innovation economy. These investments come at a critical time when there is a growing need for resources to create startups and train the next generation of science and engineering talent in communities across America. Currently, 80 percent of venture capital goes to just five metropolitan areas, and computer science is not offered in 75 percent of American high schools.

Cities must lead on the nation’s most pressing issues in the absence of federal leadership. Over the past year, NLC, with support from Schmidt Futures, has worked with city leaders, universities, the business community and the social sector to design innovative partnerships that harness the power of science, technology and entrepreneurship to build stronger, more equitable local economies.

Today, over 50 cities, ranging from rural townships and college towns, to major metros, as well as over 200 local partners, are announcing new and specific partnerships that will be supporting young businesses, leveraging technology and ensuring STEM education and workforce training for all. These new partnerships will:

  • Support new and expanded STEM initiatives that connect over 700,00 kids and workers to careers in technology. For example: Tampa, in partnership with 13 university, civic and private sector partners, will provide 600,000 regional K-12 students entrepreneurship training.
  • Partner cities with startups to improve government services in 15 municipalities. For example: Fourteen cities are partnering with City Innovate to establish or expand their local Startup in Residence programs. These programs connect startups with government agencies to co-develop technology solutions to pressing civic challenges.
  • Foster and resource local entrepreneurs in five cities. For example: Akron and the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce are identifying and supporting 25 local companies that have business models that can grow into regional employment generators.
  • Create and improve eight innovation districts — urban neighborhoods that bring together researchers, workers and entrepreneurs — to ensure these areas benefit all. For example: Providence, with eight higher education institutions and two hospital systems, is creating a new public-private-university partnership, the Urban Innovation Partnership, to collectively govern and develop two Innovation Districts within Providence.
  • Serve as living laboratories to translate university research to address critical social issues such as opioid overdoses, autonomous public transportation, cleaner electrical grids and climate change. For example: Tempe and Arizona State University are testing waste water for opioids to redeploy public services to neighborhoods in the most need.
  • Establish and fund significant, new public-private-civic partnerships that target timely local opportunities. For example: Hartford with Hartford’s insurance industry, led by Travelers, The Hartford, Cigna and LIMRA, and the non-profit StartupBootcamp, have joined together to make the city of Hartford the country’s premier destination for insurance technology startups.

See the full list of the partnerships being announced here

Full list of cities making announcements today:

  • Akron, Ohio
  • Ames, Iowa
  • Austin, Texas
  • Baltimore, Md.
  • Boulder, Colo.
  • Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Charleston, S.C.
  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • College Park, Md.
  • Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Denver, Colo.
  • Erie, Pa.
  • Fort Collins, Colo.
  • Fremont, Calif.
  • Glendale, Calif.
  • Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Greenville, S.C.
  • Groton, Conn.
  • Groton City, Conn.
  • Hartford, Conn.
  • Hays, Kan.
  • Henderson, N.Y.
  • Kansas City (Kan. & Mo.)
  • Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Long Beach, Calif.
  • Mobile, Ala.
  • Norfolk, Va.
  • New Haven, Conn.
  • New London, Conn.
  • Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Peoria, Ill.
  • Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Portland, Ore.
  • Providence, R.I.
  • Roanoke, Va.
  • Sacramento, Calif.
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • San Diego, Calif.
  • Syracuse, N.Y.
  • Tampa, Fla.
  • Tempe, Ariz.
  • Waco, Texas
  • Walnut Creek, Calif.
  • Washington, D.C.
  • West Palm Beach, Fla.
  • West Sacramento, Calif.

Other Commitment Makers to Local Activity

  • Citizen Schools
  • Johnson C Smith University
  • Portland State University
  • The U.S. Patent and Trade office
  • Trinity University


The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

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