We hear a lot about the rapid urbanisation of the human population and the consequences for those who live in cities. By 2050, according to the UN, two-thirds of all humanity will be leaving in urban areas. It is happening extremely rapidly, but who is responsible for innovating how we will move around in these future mega-cities, dispose of our waste, light our way, keep us healthy or create a harmonious built environment?
We’re going to Melbourne in March next year, privileged to be accompanied by some of the UK’s most innovative scale-up businesses that specialise in urban innovation. These firms are literally the future of cities and it’s great that the UK has so much expertise in this field. This project is part of the Innovate UK Future Cities Missions series and we’re building on what we learned in Singapore, Malaysia and India over the past couple of years. The mission has been designed for UK innovators in what’s fast becoming known as the Advanced Urban Services sector (AUS – strangely appropriate!) and is designed to be a valuable opportunity to build new business collaborations overseas.
“It’s all about ambition. You can’t grow an international company if you just sit in the UK!”
Fredi Nonyeliu, Briteyellow, connected cities mission to India
Australia is a long way to go, but it’s a growing and receptive market. In 2016, the Australian government released a ‘Smart Cities Plan’ which sets out a framework to achieve these aims. The plan is comprised of three pillars: Smart Investment, Smart Policy and Smart Technology. It also promises innovative funding packages and highlights the need for more private-sector involvement. The Smart Policy enables ‘City Deals’ that enable governments, industry and communities to develop collective plans for growth. Under these deals, cities will be able to set out specific investments and reforms needed to unlock business and industry development and promote community wellbeing. As of June 2017, the Australian government has signed deals for Townsville and Launceston and is working on a City Deal for Western Sydney. The Smart Technology pillar supports disruptive tech stemming from the internet of things and open data and also encourages new business paradigms like the sharing economy.
“The number of events lined up as part of the programme was amazing, and the variation was great. Types of attendees for each of events was fantastic.”
Dean Gifford, Preliminal Limited, connected cities mission to southeast Asia
So we’re on a mission. If our previous missions are anything to go by we at 100%Open have as much to learn as to teach. We’ll launch at Innovate 2017 in Birmingham on the 8-9th November, then it’s a ‘Future Cities Jam’ in Manchester on the 17th November. We’re lucky to have the Australian Trade and Investment Commission delegation (an amazing collection of Australian urban services organisations) visit the UK and the Jam is designed to be super-collaborative. Book up here!
“I only expected to get a feel for the market, but instead I walked away with a confirmed business deal! There is no way I could have achieved this from sitting at my desk. My only question is, when’s the next one?”
Steve Birdsall, Gaist Solutions Ltd, mission to India
The mission programme then continues with the ‘International Readiness Workshop’ for market and cultural awareness, plus coaching to hone participants’ pitches to perfection. When in Melbourne, there will be a packed programme of visits and 1-2-1 meetings with prospective partners. Who knows how many innovations or partnerships will result?
Please apply here if the mission appeals to you – either as a small business looking to grow, or as a multi-national organisation looking to partner. Our deadline is Friday 24th November.