What is fundamentally unique about the dynamic emergent cities across Africa?

Utopia and the World Economic Forum have teamed up to launch the inaugural Urban Innovation Challenge for eight fast growing cities across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. 100 spots are open per city and teams are encouraged to apply by the first round close of 28 February 2022. Earlier applicants will have more time to be considered.

Winners will receive increased visibility, connection with investors, over $25,000 in startup resources, and an opportunity to join the Technology Pioneers of the World Economic Forum.

You might be invited to complete a fuller application. Your information will remain confidential.

Who can apply?

Urban solution
Is it a solution or startup that can improve life for people in one of the emergent cities in the challenge in Asia, Africa, and Latin America?

Emerging technologies
Does it utilize technology with the potential to help leapfrog ahead? This isn’t critical, but we often see it presented in game changing solutions.

One million
Does it have a clear business model with the potential to scale to one million customers or one million USD in annual revenue?

Other considerations

  • Business model: Does the solution have a real market need?
  • Team capacity: Has the team demonstrated the capacity to build and scale the urban solution?
  • Team diversity: We preference teams with clear diversity.
  • Critical: Does this solution address a critical challenge in the city?
  • Sustainable: Is is a clean, sustainable solution that doesn’t damage the environment?
  • Regional ambition: We prefer teams that exhibit ambition to scale the solution to cities across the region.

Must haves

  • Must have at least a product and preferably a team. Must be in the market or have a line of sight to taking the solution to market within one year.
  • Must have team members in leadership who are in one of the selected cities with a solution proposed for that city.
  • Must have raised less than 250M USD if already a startup.




February 28, 2022
Organizer Utopia Lagos
Website Visit website
Targets Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda
Sectors Smart city solutions