A team of VCU students needs help from small business owners to compile data that will be analyzed by a group of experts from IBM.
Update #1 — April 23, 2013; 6:38 AM
The City of Richmond has tapped graduate students from VCU to gather data that will be analyzed by an IBM team of experts, one of the first steps before the team formally recommends ways for Richmond to attract residents and businesses.
Named one of the 30 cities around the globe taking part in the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge (see below), Richmond will hear suggestions from six IBM consultants after they complete an analysis of the city, a process expected to take three weeks.
Graduate students from the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs have agreed to collect and provide data to help the IBM team in its analysis. As part of that data report, the students would like small business owners to complete a 10-question survey online. Results from the survey will be provided to the IBM consultants when they arrive.
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Original — November 16, 2012
Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced yesterday that IBM has recently selected Richmond to receive an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant.
Launched in 2011, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, $50 million competitive grant program. It addresses urban concerns in both industrialized and developing countries. During the first two years of the Smarter Cities Challenge, IBM completed work in 64 cities globally, deploying nearly 400 of its most talented experts. The grant provides Richmond, and 2013’s other 30 winners, with access to six of IBM’s top experts to analyze and recommend ways that Richmond can become a more suitable place to thrive.
Mayor Jones hopes to have an economic development tool that will help strengthen the city’s neighborhoods, focusing on the community. He said “it is an honor to receive the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant as this resource of human capital will prove invaluable in moving Richmond forward as we continue our work of enhancing our economic and workforce development efforts.”
The program, which is IBM’s single-largest philanthropic initiative, sends the experts to each winning city to spend three weeks studying a key issue identified by the city’s leadership. The pro bono consulting engagement is valued at $400,000. The IBMers will work with city officials to analyze data and solicit the input of dozens of local agencies and advocacy groups. The team then provides detailed recommendations for how the city can efficiently and effectively address the issue.
In order to compete for the grant, the hopeful cities proposed innovative projects and areas of focus for IBM experts. These included strategies that address: economic and workforce development, social services, sustainability, capital budget planning, and urban planning.
“Congratulations to Richmond, Virginia for earning an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant in 2013. Richmond distinguished itself among its peers by convincingly demonstrating its preparation and willingness to make the kind of improvements that will improve its residents’ quality of life and become a smarter city,” said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and president of IBM’s Foundation. He hopes to share IBM’s expertise with the city of Richmond to help strengthen its already diverse talents.