The University of Colorado Denver, in partnership with the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance and Innosphere Ventures, has launched business accelerator and incubator programs to aid smart cities companies, according to a press release Thursday.
The Smart Futures Lab at CU Denver’s College of Engineering, Design and Computing aims to support workforce development and create more than 200 jobs by giving startups access to education, partnerships, and 5G-related research and development opportunities, according to the press release. The program will kick off in March, with applications due on Jan. 20. Virtual information sessions take place on Dec. 14 and 16.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration provided a $2 million grant to support the project.
“Through our new Smart Futures Lab, CU Denver will empower emerging tech company founders with big ideas in the smart cities space to realize their dreams. Through the EDA’s investment, we are giving founders access to the training, technologies and networks that can catalyze their innovation,” said Anthony Graves, managing director of partnerships and innovation at CU Denver, in the press release.
The Smart Futures Lab encourages applications from businesses led by people currently underrepresented in the technology industry, specifying businesses that are led by people who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, women or living with disabilities.
“These communities are quickly becoming the New Majority in the U.S. and it’s important that the future of how our cities operate is being designed by diverse minds and individuals that understand the technological benefits that smart cities can have for our own communities,” said Aimara Rodriguez, a member of the Smart Futures Lab Advisory Council and chapter co-lead for Latinas in Tech – Denver, in the press release.
Smart city organizations and businesses are launching accelerator and incubator programs to speed the development and commercialization of smart city technologies and applications. Amazon Web Services recently announced that nine startups would join its Sustainable Cities Accelerator for Infrastructure, aiming to help startups learn how to innovate and grow quickly using its cloud-based technologies.