What is the Mayor's Innovation Challenge?

Kingston faces a series of complex challenges as we work toward our vision of becoming a smart, livable, leading city and is seeking solutions from student innovators. The Mayor's Innovation Challenge is a competition calling on teams of students from Kingston's major post-secondary institutions to develop innovative proposals to address an identified challenge faced by the City of Kingston. The City, in partnership with Queen's University, St. Lawrence College and the Royal Military College of Canada, has the honour of continuing to host this collaborative problem-solving platform and experiential learning opportunity now in its third year.

City Hall - The City of Kingston

This year's competition will include two separate challenge streams, each with a coveted prize. Current and recently graduated post-secondary students are eligible to submit proposals addressing one of the challenges outlined below:

Dunin-Deshpande Smart Kingston Stream

  • Smart Kingston Challenge

Public Sector Innovation Stream

  • Demonstrating Leadership on Climate Action
  • Enhancing Food Security and Sustainability
  • Removing Barriers and Improving Accessibility

The creators of the top submissions, selected by the Mayor and senior staff, will be invited to present their proposals at the Mayor's Innovation Challenge Pitch Competition on Thursday Feb. 27, 2020.

The winning team of the Dunin-Deshpande Smart Kingston Stream will receive admission to a 4-month incubator program with the Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre. As part of this experience, they will be granted up to $4000 seed capital to build a venture around their idea, along with full participation in the Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI 2020) program, and the opportunity to pitch again in August for a grand prize of $30,000 to accelerate their innovation.

Winners from of the Public Sector Innovation Stream will receive a four-month paid internship with a municipal department with the City of Kingston. The winning team will be awarded an operating budget of $10,000 to implement their idea, and gain access to a full slate of resources and mentorship from City staff. The winning team will also be exposed to a variety of other projects underway at the City, and will have the opportunity to build skills and gain invaluable government experience, applicable in any career.

Why Should I Participate?

The Mayor's Innovation Challenge provides a unique opportunity for you, as a current or recently graduated post-secondary student, to apply your knowledge to real-world issues and help shape the future of Kingston. The winning team members gain an invaluable opportunity to launch their careers by tackling an issue they're passionate about, while working alongside municipal and academic leaders.

Kingston Ontario's PumpHouse Steam Museum

How Do I Participate?

Teams may have a maximum of three students, at least 50 per cent of whom are currently enrolled in one of Kingston's post-secondary institutions. Teams will submit a single proposal outlining their innovative idea in one of four challenge categories. Proposals from all academic disciplines are welcome and multi-disciplinary proposals are encouraged. At least one member from each team must attend a workshop in order to qualify to submit an application. Extenuating circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Find out more about the Mayor's Innovation Challenge and the four challenge categories. Learn more about submitting a proposal.

Deadlines

What are the deadlines for the challenge?

  • Round 1: Attend a workshop on Wednesday Nov. 13, Monday Nov. 18, or Wednesday, Jan. 8
  • Round 2: Submit a proposal by Monday Feb. 3, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Round 3: Shortlist invited to pitch competition, notification sent by Friday, Feb. 14, 2020.
  • Round 4: Pitch Competition on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.