Fourteen finalists have been announced for the mayor of London’s first civic innovation challenge, matching tech startups with corporates and public bodies to create solutions to some of the capital city’s most pressing problems.
Impact Award-winning walking discovery app GoJauntly and older people’s befriending service BuddyHub are among the 14 named by the London mayor this week as finalists in his first civic innovation challenge.
More than 100 applicants to the challenge were whittled down to the final list of 14 (pictured) to develop the proposals already submitted in response to seven urban challenges set out by London mayor Sadiq Khan in June.
“We need to be bold and to think big,” Khan said at the time of launch. “This involves being willing to try new ways of doing things. I see London’s future as a global ‘test-bed city’ for civic innovation, where the best ideas are developed, amplified and scaled.”
The startups were chosen for addressing issues including climate change, inequality and the health challenges of an ageing population.
Finalists for the challenge will receive targeted business support during September, then compete to win £15,000 to develop their ideas by running a pilot with partners later in the year.
Tech for good investor and accelerator Bethnal Green Ventures is supporting the mayor in delivering the new challenge, with workshops and support for pilots.
Each challenge is sponsored by a corporate or public sector body, which will work with the startups to test their solutions.
Blogging this week, chief digital officer Theo Blackwell said: “We were overwhelmed by the number of applications to the Challenge, which once again demonstrated the incredible talent and rich diversity of the startup community in London.”
“The civic innovation challenge is one way we are exploring the changing ways in which Londoners are using civic platforms, rapidly prototyping and testing different models for delivering this innovation in partnership with London’s tech community,” he added.
Blackwell said that, in future, the public would also be directly involved in the deciding the focus of and setting innovation challenges.
GoJauntly co-founder and chief explorer Steve Johnson said he was “delighted” to be shortlisted for the civic innovations challenge. “We can’t wait to work alongside the team at TfL and tech for good pioneers at Bethnal Green Ventures to envision and deliver new customer-centric ways to encourage active travel and to continue to promote walking as a pastime.”
The mayor’s civic innovation challenge is part of a wider ‘smarter London together’ roadmap, designed to be “a flexible digital masterplan for the city”.
London civic innovation challenge – 14 finalists