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Smart City Challenge 2024

18 December 2023

Do you have an idea, research project, or product that could positively impact Christchurch's transport, tourism, environment or resilience? The Smart City Challenge 2024 helps individuals and teams develop commercially feasible solutions for Christchurch and beyond. Find out more.

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The Smart City Challenge 2024 is a ten-week Validator that aims to equip individuals and teams with a venture idea, research, or a non-commercialised product or service, to develop commercially feasible solutions to positively impact Christchurch's transport, tourism, environment or resilience.

We seek solutions that could be trialled with the support of the Christchurch City Council (CCC).

Applications close on Monday 18 March 8am.

Applications now open – ENTER NOW!

Why enter?

By entering the Smart City Challenge you will have the opportunity to access:

  • A $10,000 cash prize pool
  • A $5,000 in-kind support package to take your venture to the next level.
  • Expert coaching, mentoring and support throughout the programme.
  • Advanced start-up knowledge and resources.
  • Prominent stakeholders and investors from the local and national innovation ecosystem.
  • Cohort-based accelerated learning and support.
  • UCE’s rapid prototyping and digital printing facility.
  • Complimentary hot-desks, deep-work spaces, refreshments, and use of the University of Canterbury’s Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) facilities. 

Smart City Challenge 2024 Info Evening

Wednesday 6 March at 5.30pm - Function Room, Christchurch City Council Civic Offices, 53 Hereford Street, 8011, Christchurch

Entrance to the Smart City Challenge 2024 Info Evening is at the Worcester Street Entrance to the Civic Offices at the top of the ramp. 

Do you have the next big idea?
FFA product

Products

What new innovative products can we create to increase the value of the sector?

FFA technology

Data & Technology

What new data, process or technology solutions can we implement to improve the efficiency and output of the sector?

FFA sustainability

Environment & Sustainability

What new commercial ideas or emerging research will have a beneficial impact on our environment or contribute to the sector’s sustainability goals?

Smart City Challenge 2024 will seek concepts based on emerging technology/product/sustainability solutions which are aligned to:

  • Transport
  • Tourism
  • Environment
  • Resilience

Read more about Smart Christchurch:

Key dates

Please note, exact dates will be communicated soon.

DetailDate
Applications open19 February 2024
Info Evening at CCC6 March 2024
Applications close18 March 2024
Successful Applications advised25 March 2024
Smart City Challenge starts8 April 2024
Smart City Challenge ends14 June 2024

Applications close on Monday 18 March 8am.

Applications now open – ENTER NOW!

The programme consists of 90-120 minute sessions, held twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4pm at the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Attending the in-person sessions is highly recommended to gain the most benefit from the programme, as the group learning experience is a key advantage. However, an online option will be available for those who are unable to attend in person due to location, work, or health issues, which can be discussed with UCE.

To fully participate in the programme, it is essential to attend the launch day, industry event with speed mentoring, and the finale. On average, participants should allocate approximately five hours per week to the programme, which includes attending the in-person or virtual sessions, additional support sessions, and meeting with coaches and assigned advisors.

Participants can also schedule one-on-one coaching/mentoring sessions with their advisor outside of the twice-weekly sessions to better fit their schedule.  

Most participants benefit from dedicating an approximate 5-8 hours per week in addition to the programme.

The focus of the Smart City Challenge 2024 is validating founder-led and research-driven ideas, prior to getting market traction and full investment in their commercialisation. Topics covered will include:

  • Intellectual property and freedom to operate

  • Customer discovery and problem / solution fit

  • Value proposition design 

  • Testing assumptions

  • Competitor analysis

  • Identifying an initial target market

  • Customer acquisition 

  • Business model design

  • Finance and investment readiness

  • Pitching your venture idea

Content, delivered by the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship team, will be amplified through: 

  • Matching each venture with a mentor, experienced entrepreneur or commercialisation experts

  • Speed mentoring sessions

  • Case studies of recent commercialisation of ‘Smart City’ related ideas presented by current entrepreneurs

  • Presentations by other agencies within the innovation ecosystem on how they can support or fund new ventures and research 

  • Industry events connecting ventures to relevant industry players

What are the Eligibility Criteria?

The Smart City Challenge is open to any team or individual living in New Zealand at the time of the entry submission deadline with an idea that could positively impact Christchurch's transport, tourism, environment or resilience.

  • A team cannot enter into this Challenge with a product or service that is in market or 
    generating revenue at the time of the entry submission deadline.

  • There is no minimum or maximum team size i.e., you can enter as a team of one or a 
    team of twenty.

  • Individuals can enter and participate in the Challenge simultaneously with different submissions and as a part of multiple teams.

Participation in the Challenge is entirely at the discretion of the Challenge Organisers.

The Challenge Organisers reserve the right to reject or disqualify any entry, team or individual participant at any time without explanation or recourse. 

By submitting an entry into this Challenge, you agree to comply with and be bound by the Terms & Conditions of this Challenge.

Judging Criteria

All applications will be judged according to the degree to which they satisfy the following overarching criteria:

  • An innovative product that is scalable and potentially protectable.

  • Clear market opportunity (i.e., potential customers in NZ and overseas). 

  • It is technically feasible, safe and sustainable.

  • The right capability to execute at the commercialisation stage that they are currently at.

Confidentiality

  • All Judges will sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to accessing any of the applications. 

  • All judges will be required to declare any conflict of interest as soon as they become aware, and the Challenge Organisers will manage conflicts of interests at their sole discretion. If an entrant becomes aware of a conflict of interest with the Challenge Organisers, sponsors, other participants, mentors or any judge they must immediately inform the Challenge Organisers.

See the Terms & Conditions for more detail.

Can I submit more than one idea? 
Yes - you can submit more than one idea, but you will need to submit separate entries for each idea. 
 
Can a team be just one person? 
Yes - there is no minimum or maximum number of team members. 
 
Can my product be in-market? 
No - this Challenge is only for entries with products or solutions that are not in-market i.e., earning revenue.

Are the judges and mentors bound by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)? 
Yes

Do the organisers of this Challenge take an equity stake in my venture? 
No

Does it cost me anything to enter this Challenge? 
No

How do I protect my IP when I apply? 
We will make it clear in the entry form which parts of your application will be publicised. If you make it to the Finals Round, we will work with you to help protect your IP. The Terms & Conditions of the Challenge prohibits any Entrant, the Organiser, Sponsors, Judges or Challenge Partners to make a claim with respect to ownership or release without permission of any intellectual property created by any Challenge Entrant. 

Do I have to attend the Programme in person?  If so, what is the time commitment? 
Yes - you are expected to attend the Challenge in person where possible. The programme consists of 90-120 minute sessions, held twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4pm at the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship. Most participants benefit from dedicating an approximate 5-8 hours per week in addition to the programme.

Time commitment will be approximately five hours per week (this includes mentoring sessions). As most of the sessions will be live-streamed or recorded you can view them in your own time if you are not able to participate in real time. There will be three in-person sessions over the course of the Programme where all participants are expected to attend – the Launch, the Industry Event, and the Finale (if you are selected as a Challenge Finalist).Yes - you can submit more than one idea, but you will need to submit separate entries for each idea. 

Contact  
If you would like to get in touch, contact UC Centre for Entrepreneurship uce@canterbury.ac.nz

About the Challenge 

The Smart City Challenge (the "Challenge") is a competition that identifies and recognises innovative and impactful ideas, products and services related to any part of the health sector. The Challenge asks Entrants to address one of the following focus areas: 

  • What new products can we make to grow the value of our health sector? 
  • What new data, process or technology solutions can we implement to improve the efficiency and output of our health sector?  
  • What new commercial ideas or emerging research will have a beneficial impact on the sector’s sustainability goals?  

Entrants, particularly those with research drive entrants, might be interested in the relevance of Vison Mātauranga a, MBIE’s a policy framework designed to assist research funders, researchers and research users when they consider research of relevance to Māori – see Vision Mātauranga Policy

Format 

The Smart City Challenge has three parts: 

  • An application process deciding who enters the programme  
  • A ten-week Validator programme, in which: 
  • the entrants’ proposals are objectively and systematically probed and tested 
  • the market opportunity is evaluated  
  • the target market is understood  
  • the required product/service features are specified  
  • a business model is developed before time and money is spent in full scale product development. 
  • A Final Round where the finalists compete for awards and cash and in-kind prizes. The Finale event, where finalists will present their ideas, will be held on Thursday 13th June 2024 (exact date TBC). 

A group of Judges will decide on: 

  • Who enters the programme  
  • Who are the Finalists who will present at the Finale  
  • Who are awarded cash and in-kind prizes. 

Purpose of the Challenge

The Smart City Challenge is designed to provide both financial resources, in-kind, and expert support for teams with an ambitious vision about the future of Health in Canterbury. Through the Challenge we aim to: 

  • Identify new innovations from the health sector that have the potential to add value and have an impact locally, nationally and internationally.  
  • Create an opportunity for existing industry players to discover novel ways to tackle problems.  
  • Accelerate the development of Health technology startups with global potential.  
  • Increase the impact of research performed in CRIs and tertiary institutions. 

We will strive to ensure every team that engages with the Challenge will be able to grow their capabilities and at the same time, accelerate the development and deployment of their ideas. 

Organisers 

The Challenge is organised by the University of Canterbury Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) and ChristchurchNZ (the Organisers). The contact person for this Challenge is Vaughan Broderick, Impact Lead at UCE - contact: uce@canterbury.ac.nz

Information Website and Terms & Conditions 

The Challenge website contains all the relevant information, key dates, the deadlines for submissions, and may contain additional rules or limitations. 

The Smart City website is at validator.co.nz.

By entering, all Entrants agree that they have read, understood and agree to comply with and be bound by the following Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) for the Challenge.  

The Challenge Organisers reserve the right to amend these Terms and Conditions by posting such amendments to the Challenge website. Entrants and Participants are assumed to agree and consent to the amended Terms and Conditions if they continue to participate following the publication of the amendments to the Challenge website. 

The Challenge Organisers reserve the right to suspend or cancel the Challenge at their sole discretion, at any time, for any reason, and without notice. 

The Challenge Organisers retain the right to, at their sole discretion, determine if an Entrant, team or submission complies with these Terms and Conditions. 

Eligibility  

The Challenge is only open to participants living in New Zealand at the time of the entry submission deadline. All Entrants must be based in New Zealand for the duration of the Challenge. While content will be recorded and livestreamed, the maximum benefits will be achieved in a cohort setting. Therefore, participants are strongly encouraged to attend sessions in-person at the University of Canterbury and other industry locations. At a minimum, in-person attendance at the launch, industry event and the Finale event is required. 

Entrants can apply to enter the Challenge individually or as a team (there is no restriction on team size) by completing the online application form. The application form must be completed in English. A team can only enter the Challenge once. An individual may enter the challenge as part of multiple teams. No team or individual can assign or transfer their rights of participation to others under any circumstances.  

This Challenge is only open to products or services that are in a pre-commercial or earlier stage. To be eligible the entrants must not be obtaining any revenue from the product or service they are entering in the Challenge. 

You may only make submissions on your own behalf. Entries submitted through third parties, agencies or by automated means (such as scripts and macros) will not be accepted.  

All entrants (including all individuals on a team) warrant that all personal information submitted is true, current and complete. 

The Challenge Organisers reserve the right to reject or disqualify an entry, team or individual at any time. This right may be exercised without prior warning and without giving any reasons.  The decision to disqualify an entry, team or individual is final and conclusive. Entrants have no claim or remedy with respect to being disqualified. 

Entry to the Challenge is open from Monday 19th February 2024 to 08:00 AM (NZST) Monday 18th March 2024. Entries received after the Challenge application deadline may not be considered. 

Entrants may withdraw their entry at any time by emailing the Challenge Organisers stating that you wish to withdraw.  

Submissions may not contain illegal or discriminatory content and may not advocate for or support unethical behaviour (as determined at the sole discretion of the Organisers). 

The Organisers reserve the right to verify an individual’s eligibility to participate in the Challenge.  

Fees 

There is no fee to enter the Challenge.    

Conduct 

In all activities associated with the Challenge, all Entrants agree to conduct themselves in a manner that is professional and respectful of (and not disruptive to) the other Challenge participants, Challenge Organisers, and others involved in the Challenge. 

Conflict of Interest 

Entrants must declare any potential conflict of interest as soon as they become aware of a potential conflict. Failure to declare any potential conflict of interest may result in disqualification and forfeiture of any prize awarded. This declaration must be made in writing to the Challenge Organisers by emailing uce@canterbury.ac.nz  

Intellectual Property 

Entrants warrant that, unless expressly stated otherwise, they own or have the right to use all of any of the intellectual property rights associated with their submissions to the Challenge.  

The Challenge Organisers reserve the right to disqualify any entry and exclude the Entrants immediately if there is reason to believe that the entry breaches, or potentially breaches, a third party’s legal rights. 

Plagiarism, copyright violations, and other forms of dishonesty are prohibited. Such acts of dishonesty and intellectual property violations will be grounds for immediate disqualification from the Challenge and forfeiture of any prizes awarded.  

Nothing in the Terms and Conditions of the Challenge allows any Entrant to make a claim with respect to ownership of any intellectual property created by another Challenge Entrant.  

Any IP contained in materials provided to Entrants shall remain the property of the Challenge Organisers or Challenge Partner providing those materials. 

Sharing confidential IP provided in the Challenge to 3rd parties is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to; selling, giving, or distributing IP. 

Entrants may not include in their submissions any content in which another person or organisation has a proprietary interest unless prior, written permission is obtained.  

Entrants warrant that, except as disclosed in their submission, the Entrant owns all rights, titles, and interests in and to the content of the submission. 

Entrants warrant that neither their participation, nor the participation of any team members, nor their compliance with these T&Cs will infringe, misappropriate, or violate the rights of any third parties, or will breach any agreement that has been entered into, or will enter into with any third party, including without limitation any agreement to keep any third party’s proprietary information confidential.  

Entrants acknowledge that ChristchurchNZ is the lawful owner of the name, “ChristchurchNZ” and its associated trademarks and service marks. Entrants agree that without advance written approval from a senior manager of ChristchurchNZ, Entrants will take no action inconsistent with ChristchurchNZ’s ownership of its names, trademarks, and service marks, including without limitation any incorporation of any of the foregoing into a longer name or other logo. For the avoidance of doubt, Entrants expressly agree not to use the logo or other trademarks of ChristchurchNZ on any product being offered for sale, any promotional material or for any other commercial purposes whether in a physical or online format. 

Entrants must not enter into any written or oral agreement that conflicts with these Terms and Conditions.  

Sponsors 

The main sponsor of the Challenge is ChristchurchNZ  
ChristchurchNZ’s principal office is located at:  
PO Box 2962, Christchurch  
BNZ Centre, Level 3, 11 Cashel Street, Christchurch 8011 

Additional sponsors of the Challenge are listed on the home page of the Challenge Website. 

Acceptance into the Smart City Challenge 2024

Entry into Smart City Challenge will be decided upon by an internal committee of industry and commercialisationexperts (Judges). Up to 25 entries will be selected for the Smart City Challenge. It is at the Judges' discretion as to the final number selected for the Challenge.  

Progression to the Finals rounds of the Smart City Challenge 2024

At about Week 8 of the Smart City Challenge, up to ten participants will be selected by the Judges to enter the Finals round of Challenge. Finalists will be required to present their idea at the Finale on Thursday 13th June 2024 (exact date TBC). 

Finalists will be required to present their proposal to the Judges in a format to be decided, but which may require a written submission, attendance in person or remote delivery of information by the participant. The requirements for this round may differ from the criteria for entry into the Smart City Challenge but the overarching judging criteria will not change. The Judges may solicit additional information from entrants in order to determine the Finalists. 

Awards and Prizes  

A panel of up to 8 Judges will select, from the Finalists, who receives awards and prizes. 

At the Judges’ discretion, in consultation with the Challenge Organisers, one or more of any special prizes may be determined before the final round of judging. 

Claiming Prizes 

To claim the Challenge prizes (cash and/or in-kind awards), the winning team member(s) must meet all the Challenge application and eligibility requirements.  

Both cash and in-kind prizes are personal to the winning team member(s) and are non-transferable. Any attempt to transfer the prize may result in forfeiture of the prize. No cash alternative is offered for the in-kind awards. 

Entrants are responsible for any and all taxes which may be payable as the result of the receipt of any prize. 

All prizes must be redeemed or forfeited by 20 December 2024. 

The Challenge Organisers reserve the right to not award prizes if there are no suitable submissions. If a particluarcash prize is not awarded the cash may be redistributed to the other cash prizes at the discretion of the Challenge Organisers.  

If Entrants do not acknowledge acceptance of any prize, are unwilling or unable to attend the Awards event, or are unwilling or unable to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the prize, or if any Entrants claim any prize, but are later determined to be ineligible for the prize, then the Entrants will forfeit the prize and will not receive any alternative prize. In any of these instances, the Challenge Organisers may choose whether to award the prize to another Entrant. 

Judging Processes and Confidentiality 

All applications to enter the programme and any information submitted thereafter will be treated as confidential by the Challenge Organisers, sponsors and judges.  

Applicants are not expected to provide or reveal proprietary information regarding their products, processes or services.  

Judges will be required to sign non-disclosure agreements and will be required to securely dispose of all electronic and paper copies of an entry as soon as judging is completed. 

Judges will be required to declare any conflicts of interest. Potential conflicts of interest will be managed at the sole discretion of the Challenge Organisers. 

Judges’ scores and comments will remain confidential, and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the outcome of the selection of the participants at each round nor in the selection of prize winners. 

Privacy  

Contact information provided to the Challenge Organisers will be used to contact the entrants throughout the Challenge for the purposes of organising and coordinating participation in the Challenge. All teams will be asked to designate one person as the primary contact for the Challenge. 

It is the responsibility of the Entrants to provide up-to-date and accurate contact information to the Challenge Organisers. If accurate contact information is not provided to the Challenge Organisers, the Entrant shall forfeitthe opportunity to participate and have no claim against the Challenge Organisers or sponsors.  

ChristchurchNZ will keep records of all winning team members for at least two years after the prize is awarded. For a period of at least six months, ChristchurchNZ will display the winning team members’ names and photos on the Challenge website. 

Entrants acknowledge that the Challenge Organisers, ChristchurchNZ and its agents may photograph and/or record any Challenge-related events. Entrants grant to ChristchurchNZ, the non-exclusive, royalty-free, fully paid, irrevocable, sub-licensable right and license (but not the obligation) to use, modify, publish, republish, publicly display and copy any Entrants’, name, alias, and biographical information provided to the Challenge Organisers, and any voice recordings, photographs, quotes and excerpts, or any other likeness whether captured before, during, or after the Smart City Challenge (hereinafter collectively referred to as the “Likeness”), and the ‘Public Domain Section’ of any submission, for any lawful purpose and for advertising, publicity, marketing, promotion and fundraising efforts of ChristchurchNZ and its various programmes, products, and events, and all allied ancillary and subsidiary rights therein and thereto (including without limitation merchandising and commercial tie-in rights), without separate compensation to you.  

By entering, all entrants understand that the Likeness and ‘Public Domain Section’ of the submission may be copied, reproduced, and distributed by means of various media, including without limitation video and audio recordings, television, radio, news releases, mail-outs, emails, billboards, signs, brochures, websites, online and other digital and electronic delivery including social media, publication, display, or promotion on any and all other media. The Likeness and ‘Public Domain Section’ of the submission may be subject to reasonable modification or editing. Entrants will have no right to review the modified Likeness or ‘Public Domain Section’ of the submission before it is used and ChristchurchNZ’s decisions with respect to the use of the Likeness and ‘Public Domain Section’ of the submission will be final. Entrants relinquish and give ChristchurchNZ all rights, title, and interest in and to the Likeness and ‘Public Domain Section’ of the submission in materials prepared by or on behalf of ChristchurchNZ, including all copyright therein. 

To achieve the outcomes of the programme the applicant/s authorise UCE to provide relevant information with Partners such as CNZ, Judges, Mentors.

Miscellaneous 

Entrants agree to release, discharge and hold harmless the Challenge Organisers, ChristchurchNZ and Sponsors from any liability, claims, losses, injuries, and damages arising out of or relating to or that you may sustain as a result of participation in the Smart City Challenge or the acceptance, use, misuse, or possession of any Prize. In no event shall ChristchurchNZ have any liability to you for any indirect, special, incidental, consequential, cover, or punitive damages however caused, whether in contract, tort, or under any other theory of liability, and whether or not the party has been advised of the possibility of such damages. 

An Entrant’s participation in the Smart City Challenge does not create a partnership, franchise, joint venture, or employment relationship between you and ChristchurchNZ or the Challenge Organisers or Sponsors. Entrants agree not to represent themselves as an employee, agent, servant, partner, fiduciary, or joint venture of ChristchurchNZ. Entrants shall not purport, through social media or otherwise, to speak on behalf of ChristchurchNZ in an official capacity. Entrants shall not represent ChristchurchNZ, act as its agent, or otherwise enter into any contractual agreement or attempt to bind ChristchurchNZ.  

Entrants’ participation in the Smart City Challenge and these Terms and Conditions are governed by New Zealand law (without regard to its conflicts of law provisions). 

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