A partnership between WEtech Alliance, the Institute for Border Logistics and Security (IBLS) and the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation are working hard to help the Windsor-Essex Region transform from Motor City to Mobility City. As part of these efforts, the “Mobility Challenge” provides entrepreneurs and innovators the opportunity to pitch their mobility start-up company or innovation plan to a distinguished jury of mobility leaders and investors.
Mobility is “Technologies and services that enable people and goods to move around more freely.” – – Ted Serbinski, Managing Director of the Techstars
SO WHY MOBILITY AND WHY HERE?
The way people and goods travel from point A to point B is changing, driven by a series of converging technological and social trends: the rapid growth of car-sharing and ride-sharing; demographic changes; the increasing viability of electric and alternative powertrains; new, lightweight materials; and the growth of connected and autonomous vehicles. The result is the emergence of a new ecosystem of mobility that could offer faster, cheaper, cleaner, safer, more efficient, and more customized travel and everyday living.
According to Forbes magazine – Southeastern Michigan is quickly becoming the world’s centre of mobility:
“People may assume Silicon Valley is where all the paradigm-shifting tech innovations are happening these days, but Southeast Michigan is quietly maintaining its position as the capital of the automotive world, even as the industry moves into the high-tech future. According to the Detroit Regional Chamber, Michigan leads the nation in the number of connected and automated vehicle projects” – Forbes, June 25, 2018.
DID YOU KNOW?
Michigan ranks No. 1 in the nation in connected and automated vehicle projects;
It is the leader in mobility-related patents, far outpacing runner-up California with almost 2,600 patents filed over the last five years;
By the end of 2019, the state will have more than 500 miles of roadways equipped with the infrastructure required for connected vehicles to communicate with each other.
Given the proximity and the interconnectedness of the Windsor-Essex Region to Southeastern Michigan, mobility is an area of great opportunity, especially given the importance of the automotive sector, along with the growing automation cluster in the Windsor-Essex Region. As a result, there are a number of initiatives being considered to help the Windsor-Essex Region realize the future of mobility.
As an example, On May 2, 2018, the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) announced, on behalf of the Government of Ontario, the selection of six sites across the Province of Ontario to harness talents and resources for connected and autonomous vehicle (C/AV) Technologies under its Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) Program. The Southwestern Ontario Regional Technology Development Site is one of the selected sites representing London and the Windsor-Essex region. The Windsor-Essex component will provide access to specialized equipment, hardware and software to spur greater innovation and it will provide business advisory services to assist in the commercialization of technologies developed to move goods, people and services within Canada and abroad efficiently, effectively and safely.
In this competition, Ontario-based start-ups and companies building technologies and business models that impact how people and goods move across all modes of transportation – including pedestrian – are encouraged to submit an application. Here are the guidelines:
- Autonomy & Control Systems – Covers control systems, sensors, & smart infrastructure.
- Safety and Security Solutions – A specific focus on collision avoidance, emergency response, and passenger safety as well as cyber security measures.
- Mobility Applications & Ride Sharing – Smartphone-based solutions including ride sharing, fractional ownership, entertainment, & mass transit.
- Healthcare Accessibility – leveraging technologies to reduce barriers to mobility for residents with disabilities and new ideas that advance healthcare priorities.
- Business Model & Growth Potential – demonstrate a clear business idea, value proposition and revenue model
- Innovation – Ideas should be new, creative, simple and holistic.
- Scalability – Contestants must address how their idea scales
- Strength of Team – prove that the team has the skills and leadership to succeed
September 19th – through October 5th – Applications open
Week of October 8th – Finalists will be chosen and notified
October 15th – Pitch workshop for finalists
November 2nd – Pitch Day
Mobility City competition prize package includes the opportunity for up to 5 selected start-ups to pitch their idea in front of entrepreneurs and investors and thought leaders at the Tech Capital Day during Tech Week YQG on Friday, November 2nd.
After the pitch sessions, one (1) start-up will be awarded a cash prize of up to $10,000 (from WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation) as selected by a jury of mobility experts and investors. The selected start-up will also have access to 1-month free space at the Institute of Border Logistics and Security, privileged use of the Connected/Autonomous Virtual Reality Lab and business coaching from experts at WEtech Alliance and exhibiting space (and two attendee tickets) at the Emerging Technologies Conference and Trade Show in Automation taking place in Windsor on November 6th.
SUBMITTING YOUR PITCH
- Once you click “Apply Now,” you will need the following information:
- Company background and details
- Description of your company’s pitch and competitive advantage
- The reason we should choose you to present
- All relevant details including contact information, social media, and website links