Blog Post

February 29, 2024

GovTech Connect 2024 Boot Camps set sights on Smart Cities - Startups, Apply Today! 

From the cobblestone streets of Prague to the bustling avenues of Paris, European cities are embracing the concept of smart cities, leveraging technology to enhance efficiency, sustainability, and quality of life. At the heart of this transformation are startups that are reimagining the way we approach energy and mobility, pioneering solutions that not only address pressing urban challenges but also create new opportunities for growth and development. Yet, navigating the landscape of urban innovation in partnership with public sector bodies requires strategic support and resources.

This is where initiatives like the GovTech Connect Boot Camps come into play, on a mission to provide startups on the quest to shape the cities of tomorrow with an environment to refine their ideas, forge valuable connections, and access the necessary tools to thrive in the public sector arena. With this year’s theme focused on Reimagining cities: Pioneering Smart Solutions for a Sustainable Future, the 5-week Boot Camps provide startups in Western & Eastern Europe with an unmatched learning opportunity to boost their business capabilities and gain further inroads into the public sector. 

The GovTech Connect Boot Camps serve as dynamic experimentation environments where startups converge to gain new insights and co-create value with critical public sector stakeholders. Through immersive training sessions, entrepreneurs learn how to navigate the intricacies of government partnerships, positioning their products or services effectively, and navigating procurement processes. From mastering nuances of Business to Government (B2G) models to understanding key policy drivers and compliance requirements, startups are equipped with the tools and expertise to deploy and scale their solutions in the public sector. Culminating in a final pitch event, convening public sector buyers from the European Commission and investors, the Boot Camps provide early-stage startups the platform to demonstrate how their solutions can enhance the evolution and fabric of smart cities. With four core programme areas: smart energy, smart mobility, smart well-being and smart engagement, this year’s edition is certain to help startups enhance their ability to expand the reach of their digital solutions to respond to these challenges. 

Now, let’s zero in on our first key programme area: smart energy. As underscored by initiatives such as the European Green Deal and REPowerEU, there is a critical need for smarter, more interactive energy systems to equip buildings with solar panels, transition to zero-emission vehicles, and the integration of renewable energy sources into existing urban infrastructure. Leading the charge in this arena, nations like Germany are harnessing multidimensional data platforms and smart energy meters to propel sustainable solutions forward. Yet, many challenges persist, raising the important questions as part of our programme on how technology can make infrastructure smarter and greener, facilitating active energy optimisation in buildings and roads while ensuring scalability and adaptability. 

Startups like Constellr and Rebin are stepping up to these challenges with powerful digital solutions aimed at revolutionising energy management. Constellr leverages cutting-edge beyond-visual imaging technology to monitor critical aspects of the planet’s health, from vegetation and soil health to water and carbon levels, along with industrial activities. Meanwhile, Rebin employs a synergistic blend of hardware, software, and AI analysis to offer a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly approach to waste collection. With solutions like these, startups are poised to drive the transition towards smarter, more sustainable energy systems, which is why it’s even more crucial for the European Commission to further the reach of initiatives providing support for startups to grow, such as GovTech Connect. 

Amidst the tremendous growth of the urban mobility landscape, the call as part of our 2nd theme on smart mobility, for innovative solutions to enhance transportation systems and promote sustainable practices resonates louder than ever. At the heart of this call lies the policy imperative outlined in initiatives like the European Green Deal, which sets forth ambitious targets for emissions reduction and spotlights the pivotal role of smart, accessible, and affordable transport systems in achieving these goals. Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and many more countries across the EU have made notable strides in smart mobility investments, prioritising initiatives ranging from electric vehicles to intelligent transportation systems. From Hamburg’s integration of autonomous shuttle services to Paris’s renowned Velib bike-sharing programme, there’s an abundance of signals pointing to the paradigm shift towards greener, more efficient urban transport. 

One might argue that the possibilities surrounding improving accessibility and optimising traffic flow to reduce congestion is made a reality through the startup ecosystem driving innovation in urban mobility. Netherlands-based, OTIV, for instance, leads the autonomous revolution in rail with its AI-based intelligent driver assistance and autonomous driving solutions, offering enhanced safety and increased network capacity for public and private railway operators. Lyko is another impressive example, providing cities and companies with a comprehensive suite of solutions to simplify the development of mobility services, from intermodal route planning to seamless integration with thousands of mobility providers via the world’s largest Mobility Marketplace. 

With no limit to the number of game-changing startups putting their best foot forward to make cities smarter, it becomes increasingly more evident that the art of the possible lies in the collaborative efforts between innovative startups and public sector stakeholders. For startups to be able to truly maximise their impact and scale their solutions, they need the right support, resources and access. This is where initiatives like the GovTech Connect Boot Camps step in, providing a unique platform for startups to bridge the gap between innovation and implementation in the public sector arena. 

In our next instalment, we’ll explore our other two core programme areas of focus: smart well-being and smart engagement. Whether your startup is focused on any of our core themes or you consider yourself a wildcard and have a digital solution you believe has the potential to transform the public sector, the GovTech Connect Boot Camps offer a one of a kind platform to accelerate your growth and impact. Don’t miss out, apply now to shape the cities of tomorrow.

Applications close on March 13th, so act fast to secure your spot.


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European Commission

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Chiara Carlini

Deputy Director of Startup & Challenge Programmes

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