- Winning entries in the Smart Infrastructure Challenge could earn anywhere from $1 million to $10 million in funding for their projects, organizers announced Thursday at the Smart Cincy Summit.
- The challenge, launched earlier this year by Venture Smarter, has four project tracks: Smart and Connected Development; Smarter, Safer Streets; Critical Infrastructure; and Next Generation Infrastructure.
- At least $50 million is available for the winning entries. Submissions will be accepted until May 31.
The Smart Infrastructure Challenge is already backed by an impressive cadre of partners, with likes of the US Department of Homeland Security and the just-launched Congressional Smart Cities Caucus joining Venture Smarter to encourage communities to collaborate and develop plans for improved connected infrastructure and transportation. Investment firm Smart City Capital will be among those fronting the money for this challenge, with CEO Oscar Bode adding in a statement that as much as $3 billion is set aside for the right projects in the future.
Despite how much money ends up being invested in smart city projects through this competition, this announcement represents a major boon for communities competing. At this stage, all must have signed and submitted a letter of intent ahead of presenting their plans at the Fall 2018 Smart Regions Conference in Columbus, OH on Oct. 25.
Plenty of competitions such as these have backers willing to put up enormous sums of money for those who take part and are eventually victorious. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last year his $200 million American Cities Initiative to "empower cities" and "advance policy" to generate innovation, while a similar contest in Georgia has a significant cash prize for its winners, too.
And the organizers of the Smart Infrastructure Challenge appear bullish on securing even more funding to help any city innovate regardless of its size and location. “We are working together to make available more support, more funding and more resources from the federal government to enable smart development for communities of all sizes,” Venture Smarter CEO Zack Huhn said at the Smart Cincy Summit.