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‘Carrot on a stick’: Mayor challenges Calgarians to come up with energy innovations

Calgarians will have the opportunity to rise to the Mayor’s challenge throughout the summer… an innovation challenge that is. 

On May 12, Mayor Naheed Nenshi opened what he’s dubbed the ‘Mayor’s Innovation Challenge’, which gives Calgarians and individuals around the world the chance to share their ideas to help Calgary advance its energy solutions.

The competition stems from an entrepreneurial viewpoint, and is aimed at those who have ideas needing a commercial push, or something that could improve City policies.

In a press conference on May 12, Nenshi said the challenge is aimed at improving Cagary’s presence as a clean energy leader with the goal of eventually hitting net zero emissions. 

“We’ve got a lot of smart people thinking about this here in Calgary and there’s no reason that Calgary shouldn’t be a world center for clean energy research and development commercialization,” said Nenshi.

Submissions for ideas are open until June 11, after which nine finalists will be selected; three from each category: start up opportunities, commercially ready technologies, and city policy and planning.

Industry and economy are behind the challenge

The City says the project is looking for ideas that will grow Calgary’s economy and industries while having a measurable impact and solving a municipal problem.

These finalists will have the rest of the summer to work on their idea pitches. On September 8, each finalist will give a presentation to a panel of industry experts, led by the Mayor. 

A winner from each category will be chosen and given the chance to continue working with mentors and experts in the field to help their idea progress.

Nenshi says the carrot on the end of the stick is not only grant funding, but also networking connections.

“We’ll put you in touch with real experts in the field who can help you implement your idea, who can help you turn your idea into real change for real people, so it’s a big opportunity for people to be able to take their thoughts and move them into reality.”

A virtual event will be hosted by Nenshi on May 28, and will feature guests from ATCO and ENMAX. Attendees can ask questions, learn more about the Innovation Challenge, and get inspired.