Case: Helping transform procurement in Barcelona 02.07.15

Barcelona has become a leading global city in opening its problems to entrepreneurs.

The city of Barcelona is globally recognized for supporting innovation in society, the economy and the city administration. This is coupled with an agenda of making the city a strong partner for business, both local and international, and positioning the city as a leader in incorporating entrepreneurs in local change.

Since 2011, Barcelona has been a top performing city, successfully completing 12 Citymart challenges in areas such as real-time traffic monitoring, smart waste management, contactless transactions in tourism, and preventing youth unemployment.

Citymart challenges have created significant opportunities for companies, such as Bitcarrier, a traffic monitoring solution that deployed after being selected by the city of Barcelona to automate urban services. Urbiotica, provider of sensors for a more effective waste management, carried out two pilots, which led to contracts and venture capital worth USD $1.8M. Worldsensing, a solution for smart traffic management through parking sensors, implemented a pilot, which led them to a contract with the Chinese city of Wuxi and a 12,000 sensors deal worth $3M with Moscow.  

Barcelona wants to become one of the most competitive cities to do business (...) Citymart, an organization that has our full trust, offers us a great opportunity in the BCN | Open Challenge as a way of sending this message of globalization.
— Sonia Recasens, Deputy Mayor City of Barcelona

These successful experiences laid the groundwork for a deeper engagement and commitment of Barcelona to Citymart’s problem-based procurement model. In 2013 Deputy Mayor Sonia Recasens partnered with Citymart to deliver the BCN | Open Challenge with a USD $1.5M budget to procure six high-impact, innovative solutions.

Rather than specifying solutions, Barcelona has openly tendered six problems. This groundbreaking initiative links companies – especially SMEs & start-ups – directly into public procurement, thereby providing a catalyst for innovation and economic growth. The partnership supports the Barcelona Growth program to stimulate entrepreneurship and job creation and deliver more transparent and accountable decision-making to citizens.

Throughout the partnership, Citymart has also supported Barcelona’s local business community by providing training programs to start-ups, social entrepreneurs and businesses on how to prepare for problem-based procurement opportunities, gain access to global markets and scale their innovations.

By joining the #citiesshare alliance, Barcelona has shared innovative solutions, knowledge and good practice with other cities and is regularly contributing to the advance of our open methods.