Start-up entrepreneurs from around the world gathered in Seoul on October 31st to compete in the 2018 Urban Innovation Challenge: Citypreneurs Young SDGs Start-Up Competition and propose innovative solutions to critical green energy, urban mobility and social protection issues faced by many cities in the Asia-Pacific region.
Hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Seoul Digital Foundation, World Federation of United Nations Associations, United Nations Development Programme and the World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization, the #Citypreneurs competition provided an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to gain recognition and garner investment funds to turn innovations into practical solutions that help achieve the #UN Sustainable Development Goals (#SDGs) in an urban context.
Taking the Grand Prize Seoul Mayor’s Award was Alt-A, a start-up using 3D mapping, real time data and intelligent sensors technology to make human and vehicle traffic safer. Alt-A was awarded 10 million Korean won in prize money.
With the goal of upgrading the system to intelligent security cameras, their core product, ALT-PLUS, can be installed inside or outside the body of security cameras. ALT-PLUS serves as a Smart Safety Beacon which includes such features as traffic light detection of pedestrians in drivers' blind spots and the detection of illegal parking on fire zones and so on.
The First Prize UNESCAP-ENEA Director Award went to Nice Visions, a start-up using well designed tiles to generate solar energy. Nice Visions was awarded 7 million Korean won in prize money.
Created with the mission to fulfill basic human needs in urban spaces, their Solar Tiles expand the usable area within cities where energy can be produced by seamlessly integrating sources of renewable energy into architecture.
The First Prize WeGO Secretary General’s Award went to WeaveAir, a start-up using sensors and AI to measure air quality inside buildings in real time. WeaveAir was awarded 7 million Korean won in prize money.
Their patent-pending devices measure 7 diagnostics metrics, streaming wirelessly in real time, with the goal to save energy while reducing the health impacts of poor indoor air pollution.
The Grand Investor’s Pick Award was given to Dot Inc., a producer of accessible and affordable products for the vision-impaired and the deafblind to lead independent lives.
With the mission to make the world accessible, dot by dot, this start-up has developed the world's first smartwatch (Dot Watch), the first smart media device for the visually impaired (Dot Mini), and a multilayered braille display that will make graphics and displays possible (Dot Pad). They are also working on making public infrastructure, like transportation and public buildings, accessible through their Dot Public project.
The Investor’s Excellence Pick Awards went to start-ups Flint and Haezoom.
Driven by the mission to provide accessible energy for all, Flint offers a bio-energy technology that uses biofuel and produces less carbon emissions.
Their core product, the Flint Cookstove, was invented with the goal to reduce increased energy costs and indoor air pollution in developing countries by burning waste cooking oil or plant oil.
Haezoom is accelerating the Energy Transition by providing software and services that reduces the soft-costs of renewable projects such as customer acquisition and O&M.
As of now, more than 0.7 million users have used Haezoom's Solar Map for annual photovoltaic (PV) performance forecastings and over 2000 PV plants in South Korea have utilized their AI-based PV anomaly detection service.
Additionally, the one-day event brought together government officials, private investors, international organization representatives and young entrepreneurs for an interactive Policy Interface to discuss policies that strengthen the impact start-up ecosystems, with a special focus on leveraging the 4th Industrial Revolution (#4IR), #diversity and #inclusion within #innovation spaces.
Young people are both digitally and physically connected, constituting the most urbanized generation to date. They will also be the most impacted by urban challenges from rising inequalities to climate change. The annual Citypreneurs competition offers an innovative space for young entrepreneurs to find inspiration, share ideas and raise their voices on using new technologies to accelerate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Moving forward, Citypreneurs seeks to localise and facilitate the adoption of these technological solutions by partnering with city governments, starting with the Seoul Metropolitan Government, to address growing urban challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.