Urban Innovation
Challenge 2021

April 5 - June 11
Calling problem solvers, innovators, software developers, designers, entrepreneurs

Help Small Businesses
Thrive in Our Communities

Innovation Sprint Week

April 5 - April 11

Meet local business owners at virtual events, form a team, and build a prototype

Accelerator Program

April 12 - June 11

If selected, your team can join the Accelerator Program and continue building

Pitch Day

June 11

At the end of the program, the teams with the best solutions win cash awards and more

2021 Innovation Sprint Week
April 5 - April 11

Innovation Sprint Week is open to all and provides a great opportunity to put your creative problem-solving skills to the test
  • Meet small businesses owners from across San Diego county and learn about their challenges
  • Join virtual events on design thinking and problem solving, and meet like-minded people
  • Form teams (or bring your own) to create prototypes and compete in a 2-day virtual Innovation Sprint

Accelerator Program
April 11 - June 11

On April 11, at the end of Innovation Sprint Week, our judges will select the most promising teams and prototypes to join our Accelerator Program
  • If accepted, your team will work from April 11 to June 11 with mentors to turn your prototypes into solutions
  • You will also regularly meet with subject matter experts and your potential customers
  • Every 2 weeks, you'll have "Review Gates" with SCALE leadership to go check on progress, answer questions, and resolve any issues you may have

Pitch Day
June 11

On June 11, at the end of the Accelerator Program, you and your team will present your solution to our panel of judges
  • You and your team will present to our panel of judges along with potential customers and investors
  • During Pitch Day, you'll also have a chance to hear from some amazing guest speakers
  • The winning teams will receive cash awards and support to plan your next steps on how to bring your solution to market

Thank you to our Sponsors:

Why Focus on Small Businesses?

  • The small and micro businesses in our San Diego communities are struggling, especially businesses located in our Low and Moderate Income (LMI) neighborhoods.
  • Many small businesses still rely on manual processes and our goal is to help them solve design and operational challenges by leveraging data and technology.
  • Small business are critical to our communities: let's help them survive and thrive.
  • Financial incentives alone cannot save businesses if their operations suffer from outdated processes and a lack of technology.
  • Small businesses need better visibility, new customer channels, mobile solutions, chatbots, streamlined user experiences, low-cost back-office processes, and an optimized supply chain (e.g. pick up and deliveries).
  • More importantly, they need help figuring out how technology can help them with their operations and customers.

Frequently Asked
Questions

Who can participate in the 2021 Urban Innovation Challenge?

The first part of our program, Innovation Sprint Week (April 5 to April 11), is open to all. However, the rest of the program is only open to the teams selected by our judges.
Who should sign up?
Students, professionals with diverse backgrounds - most importantly, problem solvers. You've got to enjoy solving problems with data and technology. You've got to care about the problems you're going to be solving or maybe even have experienced them yourself as a small business owner or employee.
Is there any cost to sign up or participate?
There are no fees to sign up or participate.
Is this event going to happen online or in person?
We plan to have the entire event occur online.
What is the expected time commitment?
You can expect to spend around 36-48 hours during the Innovation Sprint Week from April 5 to April 11. If your team is selected to continue to our Accelerator Program, you will be expected to dedicate whatever time is necessary to build a suitable prototype by the Pitch Day on June 11.

Build the change you wish to see.

Innovation Sprint Week

April 5 - April 11

Accelerator Program

April 12 - June 11

Pitch Day

June 11