Civic Innovation Competition

A partnership to help Guilford County creatively face challenges and an opportunity for students to access funding to grow their ideas



Local governments across the country have become a platform for experimentation. The explosion of innovation within local government is in response to a limited resource supply and an increase in demand for better service. With its combination of resources, authority, influence, and accountability, some local governments are stepping up to the challenge to deliver better service to more people, faster.

Pilot projects supported by philanthropic dollars are an emerging method for encouraging innovation in local government operations and services. With funding support, partnerships between local government and civic technologists/social entrepreneurs are initiated to begin experimentation.


The purpose of this competition is closely related to Joy’s Law. Attributed to Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, the law states that no matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else. Recognizing that there is collectively more knowledge outside of our organization than inside of it just makes sense.

This competition is seeking creative solutions to local government challenges and is prioritizing valuable interactions with local students. At the same time, we recognize the value in creating a unique opportunity for students to pursue non-traditional paths into entrepreneurship. Public servants are incredibly devoted to the work that they do every day and care deeply about serving citizens. This is a good thing but can also create blocks that prevent us from thinking differently about the problems we are facing. This will hopefully provide us with a great opportunity to challenge both students and public servants in a new way.

Check out the problem statements and help us develop innovative solutions!


Watch here for competition updates!

Prize Breakdown The Greensboro Community Development Fund is graciously providing $10,000 in total prize money for this competition. In the first round of the competition following initial submissions, five finalists will be chosen to continue. Each of these finalists will receive: $500 cash $500 development funding Targeted support from The Nussbaum Center Following final presentations, judges will select one winner that will receive: $5,000 cash If the final winner’s solution is a viable product for Guilford County, consideration will also be given to how Guilford County might become the winner’s first customer.


About The Nussbaum Center Whether you’re contemplating starting a business or have outgrown your kitchen table there should be only one thing on your list…The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship! We provide everything you need: Space Accounting Marketing and graphic design services Guidance in strategic planning Professional advice from reputable business mentors The Nussbaum Center offers the infrastructure to not only nurture your small business in those critical, formative years but also to help you grow to become the business of your dreams.


Competition evaluation will be kept as simple as possible. Submissions will be evaluated against two criteria: Creativity Applicability Below you will find a simple definition of each and some key questions to consider for your submission. Creativity For this competition, judges will be looking for imaginitive solutions that leverage original ideas either alone or in conjunction with existing free/open source tools. Some important questions to ask yourself:



  • Aug 31: Competition Opens
  • Sept 30: First Round Submissions Due
  • Oct 7: First Round Judging Finalized
  • Oct 8: Finalists Notified
  • Oct 10: Finalist Prep Workshop
  • Nov 14: Final Presentations & Awards

Problem Statements

Election Field Techs

Tracking Elections field technicians on Election Day.

Understanding Local Government

When attempting to understand programs, services and even taxes it can be incredibly difficult to delineate between Guilford County and the municipalities that are contained within.

Voice AI

Exploring opportunities to integrate with voice artificial intelligence platforms

Voter Wait Times

Capturing voter wait-times at the polls and updating Guilford County website.

Workplace Security

Improving Guilford County workplace security.


If you have any questions please reach out!