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The CityFix Labs India winners will soon pilot innovations to make urban India smart and sustainable.
Hyderabad, India (September 5, 2019) – 8 months after the launch of The CityFix Labs India – Accelerating Innovation, a one-of-its-kind challenge to identify and promote innovative urban solutions in the sectors of water, energy and waste management, 10 start-ups showcased their solutions before an esteemed jury and the officials of Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) Telangana on Wednesday. Following their pitch, three winning entries were chosen - WEGoT (Water Management and Efficiency), Hasiru Dala (Waste Management) and The Solar Labs (Energy Efficiency). The capstone event also hosted a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing event between Energos and the Government of Telangana’s Town and Country Planning (DTCP) department to implement an energy savings solution in their offices in Hyderabad. In India, as well as cities around the world, water, energy and waste management are three critical services that often lag behind urban expansion, leading to a negative impact on long-term environmental sustainability, public health and quality of life. The CityFix Labs innovations challenge, led jointly by the World Resources Institute, India (WRI India), MAUD Telangana and the Citi Foundation, was launched in Hyderabad in October 2018, and sought to find new solutions to bridge the gaps in delivery of these urban services. It also focused on establishing a platform to help coordinate investors, entrepreneurs and the state for public good by connecting the innovation ecosystem.
Following a six-week open call for applications till mid-November, The CityFix Labs India received 125 entries. Of them, 10 innovative solutions were shortlisted based on a meticulous screening process to evaluate their potential to address a specific city’s needs through disruptive innovation, their financial viability, scalability and replicability and their potential social, economic and environmental impacts. Among the 10 shortlists were smart solutions like building a circular system so that domestic waste is recycled and sent back into the industry, using artificial intelligence to assess the optimal use of rooftop solar and employing miniature robots to manage and maintain urban water infrastructure.
In the past 11 months, the CityFix Labs cohort of 10 companies were introduced to mentors and technical experts from a range of backgrounds including, local government, sector experts in water, waste and energy, and impact investors. WRI India also worked with the cohorts to nurture their ideas and evolve their business models to better suit municipal decision-making and markets, using Hyderabad as a test case.
At the Pitch Day, the prestigious jury included Mr. Rahul Kapoor, Director, Smart Cities Mission, Ms. Chandrima Sinha, VP of Invest India, Ms. Deepthi Ravula, CEO of WeHub, Mr. Vidhyadhar, Director DTCP and Mr. Madhav Pai from WRI India. “All of our cohorts have mature products looking to scale up and CityFix Labs’ Accelerating Innovation is one such platform that can leapfrog innovation,” said Rahul Kapoor as part of the jury deliberations.
Mr. Kunal Kumar, Mission Director, Smart Cities Mission was the Guest of Honor at the event. Congratulating the cohorts on their solutions, Mr. Kumar said, “Tomorrow’s cities will not be known by how good or prosperous they were, they will largely be known for how well they innovated. We should acknowledge innovation is all around us. Smart cities are all about doing more for less. Anticipating problems of the future and working towards solving them, smart cities are resilient, adaptive and become more livable with time. Leaders of smart cities have to be bold and work towards creating conditions for people to collaborate as innovations drive the economy.”
“India is urbanising at a fast pace and to ensure a resource-secure future, the nation needs to seek scalable solutions that are efficient and easy to deploy. Today, several start-ups are bubbling with smart and highly- targeted solutions to improve urban services delivery. We aim to offer a platform to such innovations to help them build partnerships with cities and other partners to implement their solutions at scale,” said Mr. Madhav Pai, Director, WRI India Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.
Jaya Dhindaw, Director of Urban Development, WRI India, added, - “The rapid rate of urbanization in Indian cities along with the reality of climate change demand solutions that are not only sustainable but also cost-effective for city agencies. TheCityFix Labs India is addressing this need by helping mainstream innovation in government to solve the ‘wicked problems’ of waste, water and energy in urban areas. The Lab through its unique pitch-pilot-scale approach has not only helped solutions gain visibility at the highest levels but has also enabled policy dialogues about how to operationalize sustainability in cities by leveraging the power of innovative enterprises and investments.”
TheCityFix Labs are part of the Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative (FSCI), a partnership between WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and the Citi Foundation, to more intentionally drive the market transition towards sustainable investments by combining knowledge-sharing, capacity-building and direct technical assistance to help cities better define and initiate fundable projects.
WRI India Ross Center is part of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities works to make urban sustainability a reality. Global research and on-the-ground experience in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Turkey and the United States combine to spur action that improves life for millions of people.
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.