Apply now for a 2018 Readiness Challenge Grant

Who is eligible

Challenge Grants are awarded competitively upon completion of an online application. They are available to cities, counties, states, provinces and regional authorities (transit, port, etc.) within the United States, Canada, or Mexico.

The entity must serve a minimum of 100,000 people. Those that fall beneath this threshold are urged to combine with neighboring cities, counties or authorities to become eligible.

How to apply

Begin by following this link to the Readiness Challenge online application, which provides full instructions. You do not need to complete the application in one sitting – your information is stored as you go along and you can revisit the application as many times as needed to finish.

Applications must be submitted no later than November 10, 2017. Winners will be announced on January 23, 2018 at an awards reception the evening before the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting.

How to get help

There’s no need to go it alone. You have many resources to help you enter and win.

  1. Review the Frequently Asked Questions about the Smart Cities Readiness Challenge.
  2. Attend the free Readiness Challenge mentoring workshop October 3, 2017 at Smart Cities Week Washington, DC. Applicants will be paired with experts to help them enhance their projects and their chances of winning. Applicants will receive a free registration code for Smart Cities Week and instructions on registering for the workshop when they begin the application process.
  3. Contact your local electric power company. Cities that include a letter of support from their local utility get extra points on their applications.
  4. Reach out directly for one-on-one support to GrantApplication@SmartCitiesCouncil.com

About the grant

The Smart Cities Council will award five (5) Readiness Challenge Grants to North American cities, counties, states, provinces or regional authorities that wish to apply smart technologies to improve community livability, workability, and sustainability. For each of the five winners, the Council will deliver a tailored one-day Readiness Program™ during the 2018 calendar year; a Smart Cities Readiness Roadmap™ summarizing results for the benefit of staffers and citizens; mentoring before and after the Readiness Program; and national publicity. Members of the Council will deliver additional benefits to each of the five cities, as described in the 

The Readiness Program menu

For each winning city or state, the Council will deliver a one-day smart cities workshop. Participants will include approximately 150 government leaders, private sector and academic experts, and other key regional stakeholders. The Council will custom design each workshop to the special needs of that city.

The Readiness Program provides a significant in-kind contribution of professional services; access to best practices from some of the world’s top smart city practitioners; access to the expertise of leading smart cities technology providers in a vendor-neutral setting; the opportunity to learn from peer cities; and international visibility on the Council’s website and newsletter.

Additional grants and benefits

Click here to review a list of the in-kind products and services being offered by sponsors of the 2018 Readiness Challenge.

Criteria for selection

Interested local and state governments will fill out a grant application to be considered. Winners will be selected according to the following criteria.

  • Only Applicants located in the United States, Canada, and Mexico are eligible
  • The Applicant must be any local or state government entity including a city, county, special district, municipality, state, province, or similar entity
  • Population greater than 100,000 (may combine with neighboring local governments to reach population threshold)
  • Demonstrate commitment by including a cover letter from the Applicant’s chief executive (e.g. mayor or governor) affirming the official entry
  • Demonstrate capacity by referencing existing smart city practices, policies, programs, and planning efforts
  • Demonstrate a commitment to widespread stakeholder engagement by sharing a list of the leadership and organizations they propose to invite
  • Agree to the Smart City Principles espoused by the Smart Cities Council, which call for an inclusive, equitable, “people-first” approach that improves community livability, workability, sustainability, and resilience
  • Propose at least three theme areas that represent key priorities, referencing how smart technologies will be used to help vulnerable or marginalized people or neighborhoods
  • Agree to allow the Council to publish high-level summaries of their event on the Council’s website
  • Supply a venue suitable for plenary sessions of at least 150 attendees with suitable break out spaces