Lagos Organises Urban Innovation Challenge For Young Innovators And Entrepreneurs


By Ifeoma Asika

Do you want to shape the future of Lagos? If your answer to this question is ‘yes’, then, this message is for you. The Lagos State government is seeking ideas that can solve critical urban

issues in the state.

The challenge invites innovators and entrepreneurs to respond to the this question: 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?

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.

Lagos Urban Innovation Challenge Thematic Areas include:

  • Built Environment & Real Estate
  • Infrastructure & Industry
  • Public Health & Safety
  • Wildcard Solutions
  • Energy & Grid
  • Food, Waste & Water
  • GovTech & Civic Solutions
  • Transportation & Mobility

There will be benefits that come with participation and the challenge will attract  up to 12 semifinalists who will:

  • Receive US$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.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Participants must be an early stage startup/team with at least a minimum viable product. There is a preference for teams with a gender mix.
  • Participants must be able to demonstrate a clear business model.
  • Their urban solution or startup must operate in or focus on Lagos. Their proposed urban solution could make the city better for the many, not just the few.

Lagos Urban Innovation Challenge Evaluation Criteria include:

They will assess applications based on 5 criteria.

Scalable: Can this solution impact one million people in Lagos?

Viable: Can this solution be implemented in Lagos?

Team Capacity: Has the team demonstrated the capacity to build and scale the urban solution?

Critical: Does this solution address a critical problem in Lagos?

Original: Is the urban solution innovative within the city?

Application will follow this timeline:

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 organizers do not foresee any major impact of COVID-19 on the timeline, 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.

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