Sheffield Smart Lab
An urban innovation programme, the first project of its type in the United Kingdom and internationally, has searched for innovative solutions that address two important challenges that Sheffield faces: making the city centre more dynamic and increasing the autonomy of citizens in situations of dependence.
- 51 global entries into the competition
- 10 countries envolved
- 9 winners
Sheffield Smart Lab was launched in summer 2015, calling out to entrepreneurs and innovators across the world who had forward-thinking solutions to the challenges faced by Sheffield currently and in the decades to come.
The origin of the project was to work together to address city challenges. A short list of city-wide challenges was developed and narrowed to two by a diverse set of city stakeholders: making the city centre more dynamic and increasing the autonomy of citizens in situations of dependence. After the programme was launched, entrepreneurs were invited to respond to the challenges. 50 solutions developed by urban entrepreneurs from 10 different countries and selected the best to tackle the Sheffield’s strategic challenges. All the winning solutions are included in the Catalogue on Innovative Solutions of Ferrovial Services.
Nine winning ideas had been selected by a panel of city stakeholders to be taken forward and developed in an ‘incubation and acceleration programme’ supported by the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. This involved winning entrepreneurs meeting with subject matter experts, business growth advisors, potential customers and ‘challenge owners’, sharing ideas and discussing how their projects could be best mobilised, monitored and then evaluated. Entrepreneurs have had the opportunity to put their solution to the test in a real life situation on a pilot basis in the city.