What's Your Solution?
What solutions would help cities grow, operate, and be resilient while
meeting population and climate demands over the coming decades?
Compete for thousands of dollars in cash and other prizes.
Monday, April 10
3-6 pm EST
3434 Washington Blvd
Arlington VA 22201
Deadline for Concept Notes
Friday, April 14
5 pm EST
I-Corps/ICAP Workshop #1 for Students
Tuesday, April 18
6-8:30 pm EST, Virtual
Mentor/Team Matchmaking Announcement
Wednesday, April 19
I-Corps/ICAP Workshop #2 for Students
Wednesday, April 26
6-8:30 pm EST, Virtual
Deadline for Submissions
Friday, May 12
5 pm EST
Friday, May 19
Thursday, May 25
GMU Van Metre Auditorium/Gallery
3351 Fairfax Dr, Arlington, VA 22201
For any questions, please get in touch with us at:email@example.com
Students: Students who participate in the challenge are invited to attend two special introductory workshops to serve as an introduction to lean startup methodology. This includes topics such as customer segmentation, value proposition, and customer discovery, along with additional support and pitch practice, in preparation for pitching at the challenge. After joining these workshops, George Mason University student teams with a STEM solution that meet I-Corps requirements, will be eligible for a $3,000 I-Corps site grant to conduct customer discovery interviews.
Registered Teams submit a pitch video (4 minutes maximum) that defines the problem, describes the solution, and includes a business model and market strategy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline is May 12 at 5 pm EST .
Submissions are judged with the following criteria:
How innovative is the solution? Is it differentiated or unique?
Regional Impact (25%)
What is the impact (e.g., number of people helped, overall reduction in costs, improved quality of life) of the solution for the metro Washington, DC region? Does it have the potential to be implemented across the region?
Practicality & Scalability (25%)
Can the solution be implemented in the near- to medium-term (within 1-2 years) in a cost-efficient manner? How easily can it be replicated or scaled to a larger market?
Social Responsibility & Equity (25%)
What impact does this solution have on addressing racial, accessibility, age, gender, or other inequities? How does your solution or company address important social issues like climate change? Demonstrate your neutral or positive impact.
We are in a period of unprecedented regional urbanization and change. More than half of the world’s population now lives in or near a major urban area. As the global population continues to grow over the next two decades, the world will have to accommodate about 70 percent more inhabitants within existing physical footprints. Yet, there is a considerable lack of meaningful thought or planning at the regional level, lack of change in the built environment, and the pandemic has starkly revealed the strains, gaps, and inequities in systems across densely populated regions.
Given the challenges of limited investment and resources, diminishing space, energy use, and the need for more resilient, equitable and sustainable solutions, adding more physical infrastructure alone won’t work. Regional decision making is complex, bureaucratic public procurement policies and the lack of private sector investment in research and development discourage innovation. As a result, the infrastructure to support healthy, resilient, and vibrant communities—our buildings, roads, water, energy, communication, education and transportation systems—is deteriorating and inefficient.
The potential for innovation in the urban and built environment is largely untapped. Advancements in materials science, sensors, and control systems, and the rise of connected devices and the internet- of-things, offer opportunities to connect, improve and in some cases, reinvent urban systems. Communities need the capability to integrate technologies and new ideas. We need companies focused on new ways to build, maintain, and operate civil infrastructure. Rapid deployment of innovative solutions will make communities smarter, more livable, resilient, and sustainable for citizens and businesses in the years to come.
What solution do you see to help cities grow, operate, and meet population demands over the coming decades?
Smart City Works is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to harness the power of digital technology to create smart, sustainable, and resilient communities. We focus on urban challenges. We deliver economic growth. Smart City Works currently leads the Northern Virginia Smart Region Initiative, an initiative powered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s i6 Economic Development Challenge grant and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s GO Virginia grant. The Initiative brings together governments, universities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to foster the development of a thriving smart city technology innovation cluster to tackle local urban challenges and expand regional economic growth in Northern Virginia and the Greater Washington Region. Along with our partners from the private sector and local government, our goal is to make Northern Virginia the forefront of urban technology innovation and a new locus of economic growth and vitality that leads the nation.
Fairfax County, Virginia’s largest county, is the go-to for smart technology. With more than 1.1 million residents and eleven Fortune 500 companies, professional, scientific, and technical services account for 25 percent of employment in the county, which is four times the national average. Fairfax County has created an environment which supports technological innovation and creativity. Our companies are reinventing the worlds of IT, software, aerospace and defense, and finance through breakthroughs infields such as AI, data analytics, autonomous vehicles, mobile communications, cybersecurity, and health IT. There are more than 17,500 technology companies in the region, including innovative startups, hundreds of companies from other countries, and a vibrant minority business community making it a great place to start, grow, and do business.
George Mason University is Virginia’s largest, most diverse, and most innovative public research university. Mason is currently ranked America’s No.1 young university, offering accessible, affordable, inclusive, and high-quality education that prepares learners for the future. We are committed to a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment that fosters the highest graduation and admissions rates among a diverse group of ethnicities. Our future depends on considering how all Mason community stakeholders can make a lasting impact in shaping the future: we collaborate with businesses, alumni, and community partners to not only build a lasting connection to Mason, but to also drive economic and social impact.
The Dominion Energy Innovation Center, located in Ashland, Virginia, supports early-stage advanced technology companies by providing them with the collaborative space, guidance, and resources needed to accelerate their growth. Founded in November 2009, the Dominion Energy Innovation Center supports great ideas across a wide spectrum of industry sectors in addition to its focus on building the alternative, renewable energy sector in Central Virginia. Founding partners of this program include the signature sponsor, Dominion Energy, as well as Activation Capital, the Town of Ashland and Hanover County.
DEIC’s main programs include the annual Center Street Pitch Competition co-hosted with Randolph-Macon College, the DEIC Accelerate program for energy-focused startups, and the DEIC Greentech Network, a virtual incubator providing opportunities for startups around the United States. DEIC is proud of our partnerships with several other leading entrepreneurial resource organizations, including the Virginia Capital Region SBDC, the Virginia Accelerator Network, the American Made Challenge ConnectorProgram, and the Wells Fargo-NREL IN2 Incubator program.