Using a city’s purchasing power to promote local innovation

RegioStars 2013 FinalistThe City of Vienna is using the power of its public procurement budget to help support local innovation and entrepreneurs by encouraging them to offer their services to the city and enable Vienna to act as a lead market for innovation.

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The WienWin project in the Austrian capital Vienna, aims at strengthening the location of Vienna as a centre for innovation by using the city’s purchasing activity of approximately EUR 5 billion per year to support innovative businesses in the region.

In this way the public procurement authorities of the city administration can function as early adopters or pioneering clients and create a lead market for innovative goods and services offered by local businesses and research institutions.

In Austria, demand-driven instruments for technology policy are anchored in the Austrian government’s strategy for research, technology and innovation (March 2011). Creating initiatives such as WienWin all over Austria is one of the recommendations of the experts group on the topic ‘boosting innovation by public procurement’.

The WienWin project has set out to make Vienna a ‘greenhouse’ for research and innovation. At its core is a partnership between Vienna’s technology agency ZIT – Die Technologieagentur der Stadt Wien GmbH - and the city administration authorities. It also comprises a network of more than 900 experts in city administration and some 200 local innovative companies.

WienWin is politically hosted by the city councillor in charge of finance and economic growth and the councillor in charge of human resources and public procurement to provide a well-coordinated administrative and strategic fit.

At the heart of the WienWin initiative is a database of innovative products and services offered by Viennese entrepreneurs and research institutions. This is provided through the web portal which provides an instant overview of available innovative goods and services.

To ensure high quality standards, the web portal only presents products and services that were either developed with R&D funds from a regional, national or European funding institution or are solutions whose level of innovation has been confirmed by an expert jury. Some 250 products and services are listed on the platform and the number is steadily growing with at least 500 innovative solutions anticipated by the end of 2013.

Procedures have been set up for the regular exchange of information between the city administration and Viennese innovation drivers. City officials and ZIT experts survey the city’s demand for innovation and provide information about suitable local solutions. When city officials are interested in a particular innovative services and products, the businesses concerned are invited to present their solutions personally in so-called City Talks. More than 50 City Talks with more than 730 participants have taken place since 2010.

'Demand-driven instruments for strengthening research and innovation are gaining increased attention. A great number of studies and guidelines have been published in recent years and WienWin is one of the first initiatives to put these ideas into practice,’ says Ms Mag.a Renate Brauner, Vice Mayor of Vienna, in charge of finance and economic growth.

The City can now point to at least 36 success stories or good practice cases, where innovative solutions developed by Viennese companies and research institutions are now being used by the City of Vienna. These WienWin success stories are extensively publicised to encourage more innovators to register what they have to offer through the website.

This project has set out to strengthen the business location Vienna through innovation by using the purchasing power of the City of Vienna. Our goal is to foster the public procurement of innovative goods and services as well as common activities in research and development by the city administration, innovative enterprises and local research institutions. WienWin is a useful concept which can be adapted for other cities and regions.’
Renate Brauner, Vice Mayor of Vienna

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