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Jun 5, 2018

Fueling Civic Innovation Through the Launch of Civic Hall Toronto

By Ara Dungca and Daniel Everall

This month, the City of Toronto, Code for Canada and the Centre for Social Innovation came together to launch the Civic Hall Toronto initiative. This initiative will bring together people across sectors, including government practitioners, civic technologists and designers, social entrepreneurs, corporate innovators and city residents. The purpose is to identify, create and test solutions to government challenges. Members will be offered services such as networking and training opportunities, collaboration spaces and support for user testing and design sprints. “It is unlike anything Toronto has ever seen and will be a hub for social innovation and new thinking,” says Adil Dhalla, Executive Director of the Centre for Innovation.

The growing support for social innovation in Toronto is exciting amidst the environment of developing artificial intelligence centres and technology incubators. This initiative is likely to allow greater diversity of startups to thrive and expand within the city. Michael Thompson, Chair of the City Economic Development Committee, emphasized that “Civic Hall Toronto will grow the commercial civic tech sector in the GTA by helping civic entrepreneurs connect and collaborate with technologists, public servants and potential users.” Similar initiatives in cities like New York and Paris have yielded positive results. The similarly-named Civic Hall New York hosts an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program where civic technology companies who do not have financial resources are given space and support. Since 2014, Superpublic Paris has been providing co-working spaces for ventures to accelerate their growth through meeting interested individuals in the same area.

Membership information can be found on Civic Hall Toronto’s website. The website states that anyone excited about using technology and design in the public interest belongs at Civic Hall Toronto.

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