Support innovation and emerging innovators

Stimulating innovation through public procurement

Your municipality can ask for innovative solutions, or use alternative procurement processes to stimulate innovation within your region. It is possible to encourage local and smaller businesses to develop alternative and innovative solutions or adopt a more circular business model.

Your municipality could also partner with local universities and existing incubator or accelerator programmes to stimulate innovation. Creating specific online platforms can help emerging innovators to showcase their solutions and allow public procurers to find these solutions more easily.

Some public authorities are using innovation public procurement brokers to act as the intermediary between start-ups or SMEs that are developing innovative solutions and the public authority that is interested in procuring them. Innovation public procurement brokers are organisations that bring together stakeholders to promote knowledge sharing, build supply networks and foster innovation. Their role is to connect innovators with organisations with complementary expertise, resources, and knowledge.

Questions to consider:

  • How can you leverage existing innovation programmes, hubs, or incubators to contribute to your circular public procurement efforts?

  • Can you create or utilise an online platform to encourage start-ups, SMEs, and businesses to showcase their innovative solutions?

  • Can you use those platforms to share calls for proposals? Could you consider using an innovation public procurement broker?


1) The City of São Paulo has inaugurated its Hub Green Sampa in 2021, a space that supports the development of sustainable technology startups. The hub supports entrepreneurs and is incubating 20 sustainable and green technology businesses with a focus on innovative and collaborative models.

2) The City of Bogotá has several digital platforms to connect innovators and potential suppliers to public buyers. On the BioTech platform, innovators in the field of technology can propose their solutions to challenges posted by potential buyers. Connect Bogotá Region connects companies, universities, entrepreneurs and the government to collaborate on projects that accelerate innovation, competitiveness, and quality of life in the city. The Mercados Campesinos supports markets for small food producers in the region of Bogotá and promotes agroecological production, ancestral products, and social inclusion. The programme provides a market to small food producers without intermediaries and fair prices for the products.

3) The City of Haarlem’s Kennemer Inkoop Platform provides an overview of entrepreneurs and innovative solutions available in the region. This platform is designed to help private and public entrepreneurs, public authorities, and other social organisations make procurement decisions that have a positive impact.

4) The region of Catalonia is supporting businesses across various sectors to become more circular. Catalonia Trade & Investment has developed an interactive catalogue showcasing the 100 most innovative circular economy practices in the region.


  • The Innovation Broker learning module by the Urban Agenda for the EU provides a guideline to support Innovation public procurement brokers.

  • The Urban Agenda for the EU has developed a guideline for practitioners to design, set-up and manage the innovation procurement brokerage function. It also provides an overview of the existing practices in the area of innovation brokering for public procurement, and how existing practices can provide valuable insights to foster procurement innovation in cities.

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