The Lagos Urban Innovation Challenge
Why is this challenge important?
The world as we know it is rapidly changing and Lagos, projected to become the world’s largest megacity by 2100, already faces significant challenges despite its position as a regional economic hub. These challenges present significant opportunities for entrepreneurs who leverage innovative approaches to build solutions that solve critical issues that impact residents within the city.
The Lagos Urban Innovation Challenge is designed to support the innovators and entrepreneurs who are shaping the Lagos of tomorrow.
What does the future of Lagos look like and how does your solution make the city better for everyone, including those in informal urban slums?
01 — Urban Focus
Your urban solution or startup must operate in or focus on Lagos. Your proposed urban solution could make the city better for the many, not just the few.
02 — Stage and Team
You must be an early stage startup/team with at least a minimum viable product. There is a preference for teams with a gender mix.
03 — Solution
You must be able to demonstrate a clear business model.
01 — Expanded Profile
The Challenge is a great opportunity to build your network, gain access to key decision makers and be recognized by the media.
02 — New Growth
The Challenge can open doors for strategic partnerships to scale your solutions more broadly.
03 — Inspiring Mission
The Challenge is an opportunity to solve critical urban challenges for others in your city.
April 6: Challenge launched and call for applications open
April 6 – May 31: Application phase
June 1 – June 14: Application review phase; semifinalists selected
June 15: Semifinalists notified and interviews scheduled
June 15 – July 5: Interviews conducted and finalists selected
July 6: Winners announced
TBC: Summit and Award Ceremony
Note: While the challenge is designed to run virtually and we do not foresee any major impact of COVID-19 on the dates, there is the possibility of extending the application period to allow innovators respond to the emergence of new trends that might shape the future of cities.
Prizes and Benefits
More benefits to be announced in the near future.
Up to 12 semifinalists will:
- Receive $10,000 in AWS Activate Credits valid for 2 years
Up to 6 finalists will:
- Participate in Utopia’s virtual urban accelerator programme
- Receive curated access to equity funding opportunities
- Receive curated access to relevant Lagos State government agencies
- Be eligible for workspace vouchers from Lagos Innovates
- Get access to Utopia’s global network of experts and partners
- Get 6 months priority access to Utopia Lagos CITYLAB space at launch
- Get access to Utopia Studio in Silicon Valley
How do you define an urban solution?
Any innovative solution that can make the city better for the many, not just the few.
Do you have thematic areas?
We’re interested in urban innovations across various themes that affect city life. All entries will be considered though we generally place solutions in these buckets. Wildcard solutions welcome.
What are the evaluation criteria?
We will assess applications based on 5 criteria.
01 — Critical
Does this solution address a critical problem in Lagos?
02 — Original
Is the urban solution innovative within the city?
03 — Scalable
Can this solution impact one million people in Lagos?
04 — Viable
Can this solution be implemented in Lagos?
05 — Team Capacity
Has the team demonstrated the capacity to build and scale the urban solution?
Do we already need to be formed as a startup to participate?
Already formed and functioning startups have an advantage but we will take a look at all teams.
Is the focus on the formal or informal part of the city?
We welcome teams who are either working in the formal city or their informal slums. We’ll likely choose a mix of these.
What if I just have an idea?
If you are still at the ideation phase, you can submit your idea here in 140 characters or less. You likely won’t be an award winner but we’ll find ways to highlight the best ideas and would like to speak with you further about how we can support you.
If I’m not participating in the challenge, how can I get involved?
Our aim is to stimulate and support an ecosystem of urban innovators and innovations across the city. Please let us know how you would like to plug in and let’s chat!