Open Opportunities for Entrepreneurs and Innovators

Interested in doing a tour of duty in Government to tackle some serious challenges in health and health care?

Awesome.  We could use your help.

Leverage Your Process Improvement Skillz to Help the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Improve Response Times to the Public.

Check out the OCR announcement

Apply here

Help the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) drive more innovation & solutions to the Medicaid IT Marketplace.

Check out the CMS announcement

Apply here

Not quite your roundhouse but still interested in the program? Submit your resume today so we can keep you in mind for future positions.

And Here’s Why HHS CTO Susannah Fox Thinks You Should Do A Tour of Duty With Us:

The HHS Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

The Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Program (EIR) was established in 2012 at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in response to the challenge of finding unique skillsets needed to solve the nation’s most critical challenges in health, health care, and the delivery of human services.  Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) work on high-risk, high-reward projects for a 13-month term.

We like to think of ourselves as matchmakers between internal teams wanting to tackle a critical problem with skilled innovators who are looking to make a meaningful impact and can solve that problem.

So far, the program has supported 13 projects, 61 internal HHS intrapraneurs/staff (=innovators on the inside) and 16 EIRs who have worked throughout nine of HHS’ Operating and Staff Divisions.

Being an EIR is rewarding on so many levels. Embrace the role and it will empower you to pursue a professional passion, solve complex challenges, implement an idea at enormous scale and connect with the brightest and most creative people both inside and outside the government.”

– Mark Scrimshire, Entrepreneur-in-Residence

The HHS Entrepreneur-in-Residence program not only brought in fantastic outside expertise for my project, it gave me a group of like-minded, creative people to share ideas, learn new techniques and spread innovative ways of work. The support from the Secretary’s office was also a big help. When we wanted to meet with other federal offices or get access to key experts, the Chief Technology Officer’s office was incredibly helpful. My own story may be unique. The project we launched nearly 4 years ago has been so successful, that both the Entrepreneur in Residence and I have been recruited to focus our full time effort — along with a new larger team and a goal of agency wide spread.”

 – Kevin Larson, MD., Medical Director of Meaningful Use, ONC.

How it Works (In A Nutshell)

There’s obviously more to it (we are government, after all).  But here’s a broad overview of how it works:

Graphic of how the Entrepreneur-in-Residence program works

Some Challenges Need Outside Help

We don’t always have all the answers.

For prospective HHS staff who want to improve the way your team operates, participation in the HHS Entrepreneur-in-Residence program enables:

  • Access to a pool of talent difficult to identify in government
  • Project support and visibility from the highest levels of HHS leadership
  • Access to a network of internal and external innovators affiliated with HHS IDEA Lab programs
  • Support and freedom to incorporate new approaches to reduce time, lower cost and improve customer satisfaction for your program/process
  • A suite of tools typically not available to staff including a secure cloud environment for app development and testing as well as GitHub access
  • Assistance with the hiring and on-boarding process for the EIR

Who Can Submit A Project Idea?

Any HHS employee, or team of HHS employees, who want to test new methodologies to solve problems can submit a project idea.

We do ask that each team designates a Project Lead, that she or he be able to dedicate approximately 25% of her/his time to the project. She or he should also be prepared to project implementation following the departure of the Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) if the pilot is deemed successful or otherwise document the lessons learned.

What Projects Do We Support?

Any idea or identified problem can be the subject of a project.  But alas, we do have a limited number of projects that we can support during the year. 

Projects that are a good fit for the HHS EIR Program typically have the following characteristics:

  • High priority for the participating office, HHS Operating Division, or Staff Division with the potential to affect major change within the organization
  • Ability to be implemented in about a year
  • Can uniquely benefit from input from entrepreneurial talent, and/or expertise in areas such as open innovation, agile development or lean startup
  • Strong support from leadership within the HHS Operating / Staff Division
  • Participation of outstanding employees from within HHS Operating / Staff Division
  • Committed funding from the HHS Operating / Staff Division to support the EIR (salary and project expenses) and project implementation

What Does the Selection Process Look Like?

Step 1: We (you and us) talk. If you are interested in applying, please reach out to us so that we may have a brief conversation about your project and to explore if it may be a good fit for the program.

Step 2: You submit an application – submit your application through the Internal Entrepreneur Project Portal Application.

Step 3: HHS IDEA Lab staff and the HHS CTO review your application based on the following criteriaproject teams for the top-scoring projects are invited for an interview with HHS IDEA Lab staff.

Step 4:  If your project is selected, we begin recruiting and then you and your team will interview candidates and select the EIR.

How Do I Apply?

Excellent question!

Before you jump into the application, we ask that you and your team reach out to us to have a brief conversation about your project and to explore if it may be a good fit for the program.

After this conversation, simply submit your application through the Application Project Portal.  (heads up – you will have to create a login)

In the application, we will ask you to share the following information (so you may want to have it ready):

  • Please identify an Executive Sponsor, project lead and internal project participants.
  • Please provide a short summary about each internal project team member, their track record of working on challenging/risky projects, experience working on cross-functional teams and their role in the proposed project. Please estimate the amount of time that each internal project team member can dedicate to the project.
  • What is the main problem this project is attempting to solve? Why is this project important and why is it a high priority for your agency?
  • What will be the impact of completing this project? Which ( internal and external stakeholders) will benefit from completing this the project?
  • What is your proposed approach for completing this project? What is the desired outcome for this project in about a year?
  • What specific skill sets are desired for an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) and what is the proposed role of the EIR? Explain why the project cannot be completed without an EIR.
  • What support do you have from Operating /Staff Division leadership to complete this project?
  • Do you have an FTE and funding available to support an EIR for this project? Please describe and estimate the resources and budget needed to complete the project (please assume that the EIR will be paid at the same level as internal project team members and consider possible travel costs for the EIR).
  • If the first year is successful, what would be the plan for continuing to implement the project after the EIR departs?

Here’s our project evaluation criteria, in case you missed it earlier.

Serve Your Nation + Make A Difference in Health and Healthcare

How would it feel to know that you are applying your excellent skills towards making an impact in the healthcare space and serving your country?  Join us for a 13-month tour of duty.

Need more specific reasons to join us?  As an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, you will:

  • Use Your Powers For Good.  It’s an opportunity to use your talents and skills to benefit the public good
  • Challenge Yourself.  You will work on some of the most pressing challenges in health, health care, and the delivery of human services
  • Work with an Awesome Internal Team. You’ll join a team composed of some of the most talented “intrapreneurs” at HHS
  • Be Backed Up At the Highest Levels. Your project will be supported at the highest levels of HHS leadership and the White House
  • Gain Insider’s Access. You get a unique chance to gain experience and insights into government from the inside and the chance to develop a network of contacts inside and outside of HHS.
  • Unite with Other Innovators in Gov.  You will have access to a network of internal and external innovators affiliated with HHS IDEA Lab who work in government and industry.

Who Can Be An Entrepreneur-in-Residence?

Anyone except current federal employees may apply to be an EIR.

EIRs are wicked-smaht do-gooders. They are passionate, talented entrepreneurs from outside of government who want to use their skills to benefit the American People and choose to complete a 13-month tour of duty in government to do so.

EIRs may be academics, technology entrepreneurs, software designers, policymakers, business gurus, or non-profit leaders who have led innovative achievements in their field.

What Characteristics Do We Look For In An EIR?

As with most questions in life: it depends! In this case, it varies depending on the needs of the project.  But all of the projects need creative and talented problem solvers with a can-do attitude – an entrepreneurial spirit.

If we had to nail it down to a few qualities, typically, EIRs are mid- to senior-level professionals. Every project requires different skillsets but across all projects, EIRs resonate with these three sentences:

  • The word “risk” does not scare me. You have lots of experience taking risks for a new product or solution.
  • I know open innovation techniques like the back of my hand. You enjoy leveraging, discussing, and meditating on things like agile development, human-centered design, lean methodologies, and/or iterative program design. (You might even think about them on rainy days or on long car rides.)
  • I love working on teams. You enjoy working with people with different professional backgrounds and can move cross-functional teams towards a common goal

What Does the Recruitment Process Look Like?

This is what our recruitment process looks like if you were to apply:

Step 1 –  A project is selected and we post the opportunity/call for entrepreneurs.

Step 2 –  [INSERT YOUR NAME] submit an awesome application for review. This consists of submitting a resume and answering one short answer question.

Step 3We do our internal thing (see Step 4) and typically get back to candidates within 30 days.

Step 4 – After an internal shortlisting of qualified candidates, the HHS staff who are working on the project team will interview candidates and make the final EIR selection.

How Do I Apply?

We’re so glad you made it this far and asked!  

While we are not currently recruiting for Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, you throw your hat in the ring to be considered for positions that open up in the near future.  Simply click on the link below, of course! Heads up – you will be asked to create a quick login to submit your application. But once you’re there, all we ask is for you to share your resume, contact info, and one optional question.

Apply through the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Application

Also please continue to check back on our site for opportunities that open up!

Contact Information

Julie Schneider, Program Director,

Recent Press & Blog Posts

Check out recent press about HHS Entrepreneurs-in-Residence:

View all blog posts related to the HHS Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Please visit our FAQs page.