Innovate Durham 

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Contact US

Lyndsay Gavin

[email protected]

2022 Innovate durham cohort

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ZROverse, Inc. 

City of Durham Participatory Budgeting, City of Durham Office of Performance & Innovation, City of Durham Office of Economic & Workforce Development

ZROverse is a Metaverse as a service infrastructure startup. ZROverse provides a gaming, ecommerce intersection that both enables businesses to create virtual brick and mortar stores, and creates opportunities for hard to hire populations to develop design skills needed for “new collar jobs”. ZROverse will partner with the City of Durham to pilot a Pathway Program that takes up to eight Hard to Hire (H2H) participants and provides them with entry level training for new collar jobs and work on piloting a visual component for Participatory Budgeting projects. 

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Lavni, Inc.

Durham County Emergency Management Services 

Lavni provides online mental health services for underserved communities. Clients can choose a mental health professional that aligns best with their needs and receive therapy via text, voice, and video call. Lavni will be working with Durham County Emergency Management Services to test their app with frontline employees.

SmartBridge logo

SmartBridge Inc. 

City of Durham Office of Performance & Innovation 

SmartBridge will be working with the City of Durham Innovation Team to run three different workshops for Innovate Durham Cohort members and City of Durham employees. The failure foundry workshop will help government employees acknowledge that failures are already occurring in the status quo and view failure as a necessary step towards positive change.

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Resolved Analytics

Durham County General Services

Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs), also known as geothermal systems, are the most energy efficient technology in the context of space heating and cooling applications. Conventional ground-loop heat exchangers are currently a barrier to wider market adoption of GSHPs due to their high installation costs, long lead times and landscape disruption upon installation. We would like to test our innovative ground-loop heat exchanger that overcomes these commercial and technical limitations in collaboration with Durham County.


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Durham Success Summit

City of Durham Office of Performance & Innovation, City of Durham Office of Economic & Workforce Development, Durham County Economic Development

Durham Success Summit provides programs and tools to increase access to business education, mentorship, and professional networking opportunities for young Black men between 16 and 24 years old in Durham. The City, County, and DSS team will work to determine and identify the most impactful content for job-seeking Black male youth 16-24 in order to increase their skills and employability.

Yellow Horizontal Line Divider 1500 x18About Innovate Durham

We're turning local government into a laboratory for startups and entrepreneurs.

Innovate Durham is a 16-week partnership program that turns the City of Durham and Durham County into a lab to test new ideas, products, or services. Innovate Durham participants will work with a Durham City or County department to test, scale and innovate new ideas and technology. Participants get access to staff, data, and facilities to assist with making Durham more efficient and encourage a culture of innovation at the City and County.

Program Goals

  • Test Latest Technology: Keep Durham informed of new trends and technologies by opening the doors of government to startups and entrepreneurs.
  • Build Innovation Capacity: Build capacity for innovation work by allowing departments to partner with program participants to test new ideas and use new technology.
  • Support Local Businesses: Provide opportunities for businesses to work with the City or County, giving them a use case to attract clients or investors.
  • Direct Benefit to Organizations: This year we are very excited to have cohort members involved whose products will solve organizational challenges within the City of Durham and Durham County.

Yellow Horizontal Line Divider 1500 x18More Information

How is Innovate Durham structured? 

Selected participants will partner with the City for a 16-week testing period. Participants will be required to attend several in-person events: program kickoff, cohort check ins, and a Demo Day. Participants will also be expected to check in with Innovate Durham staff every two weeks to discuss the progress of the project. Selected participants will agree to a memorandum of understanding before the pilot period starts: Sample Innovate Durham MOU (PDF). 

Is there a financial investment as part of Innovate Durham? 

No, there is no financial investment as a part of Innovate Durham. However, during the program participants will have access to City and County data, resources, personnel and infrastructure. The intention is to create a laboratory for startups and entrepreneurs to test their product or service. 

What does the City or County get out of the program?

The City and County are using Innovate Durham to encourage a culture of innovation by creating partnerships with the business community to share ideas, collaboratively solve problems and improve operations. Both organizations hope to learn about new technologies and ideas.