Startups can enter government contest. But the winners might end up being the losers in this game.
Putting a foot in the door of civil contracts, it’s best to have a steel toe boot or enter a government contest.
It’s a laborious process, a lot of killing of virtual trees to submit bids to finally get the all-endearing approval after weeks or months of waiting. But in the end, all the hard work is pay dirt.
Actually they don’t pay in dirt, but you get the point. So yesterday, I had to pay my utilities bill, so I head over to the West Sacramento city’s website. And before I could blink, up comes “Wanted: Startups to work with West Sacramento” Well, that got my ears to perk up and my finger clicking. The press release started with “The City of West Sacramento is recruiting startups to help develop technology-based solutions that address challenges facing the city. West Sacramento joins San Francisco, Oakland, and San Leandro, to form a regional Startup in Residence (STIR) collaboration led and managed by the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation. And the application only takes no more than sixty minutes of my time to complete?
I was in government procurement heaven. The press release stated, “Startups can apply now to work on one of 25 civic challenges in Northern California. The winning team for each challenge will be selected to participate in a 16-week “residence period” from April to August 2016 to work with a city department on a prototype for their proposed solution. “Residence period?” What are those quotes suppose to mean? I hate when my gut starts talking. So I go into investigation mode and my ears droop. It’s pro bono work. And what is the businesses’ advantage? After sixteen weeks of development work, a required year of providing free maintenance, and allow them dibs on licensing. a possibility, but no guarantee of a future paid contract?
Obviously government agencies are looking for ways to save taxpayers money. We get it. But pay zero, nothing? Do these same entities understand the need to put food on the table let alone the amount of work that goes into producing an application with an extensive custom interface to their specifications for free? I know there are those who live only for the innovation challenges. And more power to them. But for me, I’ll be going back to killing virtual trees.
Debbie Wallis and her husband Robert, are owners of AXbean, a guiding light to all things Microsoft Access and Excel. They reside in the central valley area of Sacramento, California between agriculture and government central. When not working, you can see them running about outside, exploring shops, chowing down at all kinds of eateries and whenever possible, being more curious than a cat.
Find out more at AXbean.com.