CityTech RUHR invites startups from around the world to participate in Germany’s biggest smart city challenge. Four cities and their business partners seek innovative solutions for four different challenges and offer the opportunity to win paid pilot projects. Startups that want to participate can apply until May 3, 2020 for one of the program’s challenges.
The startup challenge has been launched by the Ruhr Metropolis “City of Cities”, the regional Economic Development Corporation Business Metropole Ruhr along with four cities and supporting businesses. The initiative seeks startups from all over the world that are not afraid to take on different challenges that cities within the Ruhr area face with their innovative smart city solutions. Participating startups get the opportunity to:
- Win a paid pilot project;
- Work on real city challenges;
- Be mentored by local and international experts;
- Receive funding for their solution and make real impact in the local, regional and global innovation ecosystem.
- Earn visibility and reputation through their successful pilot
The Four Challenges
The CityTech RUHR programme consists of four challenges for individual cities and their business partners in the Ruhr area. The cities of Bochum, Bottrop, Gelsenkirchen and Hagen are looking together with renowned partners like Europe’s largest housing company Vonovia SE or world-famous soccer club Schalke 04 for innovative ideas and solutions for their individual problems and development projects.
Thomas Eiskirch, Lord Mayor of Bochum, stated: “Of course, it is not only about the four cities, but about the whole Ruhr area. Even during the competition, these cities work well together and exchange information with each other. This creates a smart city spirit and we want to infect the whole metropolis with it: on the one hand to look after innovative ideas, but at the same time to develop innovative ideas that are transferable and that we want to make transferable. Because in the end we want to become Germany’s smartest region.”
The Ruhr Metropolis is the largest urban area in Germany and the third largest in the European Union. It consists of 53 cities and more than 5.1 million residents. A huge opportunity for smart city startups to scale with their innovative solutions in the region and Germany as a whole.
1. The Bochum Challenge: Automated preliminary review of construction projects for building permits
The first challenge is announced by the Building Regulations Office of the City of Bochum, which is looking for a solution that enables applicants to carry out an automated preliminary review of construction projects and, following this preliminary review, to submit complete and qualified building applications in order to enable a faster and less time-consuming review. The desired state of affairs would be a control system to support and relieve those involved in the approval process of building permits.
2. The Bottrop Challenge: How can technology and data support economic growth for local businesses?
The second challenge deals with the problem of the city of Bottrop, which is looking for a solution to reduce the increasing vacancy rate of retail and other commercial properties in the city centre. The offered solution should provide an answer to the key questions: 1) How to attract more people to buy, eat and use services locally and keep the city center vivid and attractive? 2) How to learn more about the users of the city center and offer them targeted services and retail offers?
3. The Gelsenkirchen / Schalke 04 Challenge: Blockchain-enabled communication and community development including payment (S04 token)
The third challenge deals with the ambition of FC Schalke 04 Football Club to offer their members, visitors and customers a communication and community development platform powered by Blockchain technology. The desired result is a complete integration of an “S04 token” during match days and training sessions, taking into account all S04 products and marketing services. It will be very well received by members and occasional guests. The token could also be integrated into community services (e.g. event booking, ticket sales for public transport). The delivered solution will be a top reference for the use of the Blockchain technology within Smart City Solutions: The City of Gelsenkirchen wants the local crypto coin to be adopted by other services and marketplaces in the city: local retail, hospitality and tourism for example.
4. The Hagen Challenge: Incentivizing residents to use public and alternative means of transportation
With the fourth challenge, the City of Hagen is looking for a digital solution to increase the awareness of residents for various sustainable modes of transportation that are available to the public and incentivize the use of either public transportation or more environmentally friendly ways as opposed to using private cars. Startup companies that offer solutions in the field of micro-mobility, mobility-as-a-service and others are welcome to apply. All possibilities to improve local transport alternatives are seriously considered.
The Application Process: Startups are encouraged to apply for one of the program’s challenges until May 3, 2020. All relevant information about the overall CityTech RUHR call for better cities, the individual challenges and the application process are easily accessible on the challenge website.