New City-Focused Climate Innovation Competition Launched

Ignite Sweden is a proud partner of the Climate Smart Cities Challenge, a competition that was launched today by UN-Habitat and Sweden and aims to accelerate the shift to climate neutral cities.

The Climate Smart Cities Challenge invites innovative organisations of different types and sizes to submit their best approaches, solutions and technologies to reduce carbon emissions while providing positive impacts on the quality of life in four cities; Bogota (Colombia), Bristol (United Kingdom), Curitiba (Brazil) and Makindye Ssabagabo (Uganda).

The climate challenges of these four cities range from green and affordable homes to net-zero-carbon neighbourhoods and urban freight management. Up to 20 finalists per city will be invited to form teams to demonstrate how to solve the cities’ climate challenges.

“Cities are at the heart of the climate change problem. But cities are also the key to the solution. Cities need to take climate change seriously and significantly reduce their carbon emissions, while improving their resilience and adaptability to climate-related disasters and negative effects. Now is the time for action,” says UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif.

A Unique Chance for Swedish Startups and SME to Make Impact

The Climate Smart Cities Challenge uses an open innovation competition process, where teams of innovators are selected to collaborate with cities and investors to demonstrate climate smart approaches that will inform future investments in the cities.

“A mission-oriented and people-centered innovation challenge process will provide a platform for a whole range of organizations across different sectors to participate, creating a movement to speed up the climate transition,” said Olga Kordas, Director of the Swedish strategic innovation programme Viable Cities.

The outcomes of the competition will have a significant impact on the four cities’ responses to climate change by significantly strengthening their capacity to engage in diverse partnerships, enabling communities and innovators to play a key and often new role collaborating with government and stakeholders in designing people-driven solutions and reinvent the way that cities innovate.

“Through this competition, Swedish startups and SMEs will have the opportunity to help solve these cities’ challenges. This is a great chance to make an impact, not only for the participating cities and the entire world, but also the startups who will run real projects together with them,” says Magnus Bergendahl, Head of Climate Smart City for Ignite Sweden.

Ignite Sweden is one of the partners for the Climate Smart Cities Challenge. The initiative’s role in the competition process is to facilitate and match the solutions submitted by the teams of innovators with the cities’ challenges.

”We are looking forward to matchmaking the contestants with each city’s challenges and to form the best possible teams. Take the opportunity to make a difference by applying already today,” says Magnus Bergendahl.

Portrait Magnus Bergendahl
Magnus Bergendahl (Ignite Sweden)

The Four Cities’ Challenges

  • Bogotá (Colombia): Improve freight mobility and reduce congestion-based greenhouse gas emissions
  • Bristol (United Kingdom): Contribute to a new model for delivering affordable, carbon-neutral homes
  • Curitiba (Brazil): Advance new models for creating zero-carbon neighborhoods
  • Makindye Ssabagabo (Uganda): Propose scalable ways to develop zero-carbon, energy-efficient, affordable homes

Applications are Opened until 5 January

The competition was launched on 3 November 2021 at Expo 2020 Dubai. Deadline for submissions is 5 January 2022. Up to 80 finalists will be presented on 20 January 2022. This will be followed by a process to form winning teams that will plan for system demonstration.

More information about the Climate Smart Cities Challenge and how to enter a submission can be found on

Watch the Launch of Climate Smart Cities Challenge

Here you can watch the launch event of the competition phase of the Climate Smart Cities Challenge.

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