City of Munich Innovation Challenge

Awards for innovative solutions and concepts relating to the challenges specified by Munich's local government

The best ideas for the city

Smart City Grafik
Dmi T /

The City of Munich for the fourth time runs an innovation challenge focused on topics in the field of smart cities. Students, entrepreneurs and all players involved in the startup community are called on to submit sustainable, innovative proposals for solutions to the specified municipal challenges.

The most convincing solutions will win the innovation award and will be further developed and tested in practice in collaboration with Munich’s city administration and one of the four entrepreneuship centers from Munich's universities.

The application deadline for 2021 has expired. The next innovation challenge will take place in 2022. New topics will be announced in spring 2022. Would you like to receive a reminder when the new challenge is about to start? Then please send us an e-mail.

Competition and award

This competition opens up Munich's public administration to innovation. It provides an opportunity to try out and implement new ways of doing things in a real-life, municipal test environment. We are looking for innovative solution proposals and concepts relating to the challenges specified by Munich's local government.

In each of five categories, the idea that is judged to have the greatest potential for implementation will win the innovation award. Furthermore prize winners will have the chance to implement the concept they submitted in cooperation with the city administration, develop it further and test it in practice. Five scientific cooperation partners will support and coach the prize winners:

  • UnternehmerTUM
  • the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship
  • the LMU Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center IEC
  • the Entrepreneurship Center Founders@Unibw
  • German Entrepreneurship

The participants who submit the best solution concepts for each challenge will be invited to present their idea to the jury. All finalists will receive a financial award of EUR 500.

The jury will then select the most promising solution in each category. The winner will receive the Innovation Award. After the implementation phase has been completed, the winners will receive additional prize money of EUR 1,500.

Who should apply?

Team plant Projekt
Redpixel.PL /

The competition targets entrepreneurs, startups and students who concern themselves with innovative solutions. Anyone who wants to try out their ideas in practice and would like to benefit from one of Munich's renowned entrepreneurship programs is welcome to apply.

Deadline for submissions and procedure

The challenge consists of two phases: the competition phase and the implementation phase.

Competition phase: This year's competition began with the announcement of the new challenges. Applicants had to submit their proposals by 15 May 2021. The finalists were selected subsequently and invited to present their ideas to the jury on Thursday, 22 July 2021. At the awards ceremony on the same evening, the winners in each category were announced.

Applications can be submitted in German or English. Pitches for the jury must be made in German, and German will be the working language during the implementation phase.

Implementation phase: The co-creation phase  will start in the fall of 2021, accompanied by startup coaching from one of the four incubator programs. This phase will be used to implement and test the winning concepts.

The competition ends after three to six months with a closing event organized by the respective entrepreneuship program. At this event, the winning projects will present their results from the test environment and will have the chance to network with investors, corporates and other players from the start-up community.

2021 topics

How can we motivate visitors to Munich to make their stay in the city as sustainable as possible and minimize their ecological footprint?

The City of Munich aims to be climate neutral by 2035 (website in German) and to implement the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (website also in German). Contributing to this aim is not only the task of Munich natives, but also the countless tourists who make day trips to the city or stay in hotels, private apartments, or with friends, relatives, and acquaintances. The city is seeking a solution which for example draws attention to sustainable (tourist) services offered by service providers in the tourist industry (hotels, catering, retail, and other services), which allows visitors to calculate and compare their carbon footprint during their stay, and encourages sustainable behavior and consumption. Ideally, the solution should be able to illustrate the economic value alongside the ecological footprint.

How can Munich’s citizens be encouraged to willingly use emission-free forms of mobility?

In order for Munich to achieve its stated goal of climate neutrality by 2035, numerous changes in urban mobility are required. Creative and innovative ideas and solutions for integrating emission-free mobility into everyday life are needed so that citizens do not regard these changes as an additional burden. The solutions should speak to all population groups and mobility users and be scalable throughout individual city districts.

How can data on moving traffic (motor vehicles, public transport, bikes and pedestrians) and on parking (motor vehicles, bikes, e-scooters, motorbikes) be improved in Munich?

Extensively recording and analyzing traffic data can help make planning and managing traffic more sustainable and city-friendly. Existing systems for recording data make a valuable contribution to traffic planning, but there is room for development concerning technology, the use of various data sources, and the amount of data. For this reason, the City of Munich is always on the lookout for innovative ideas to improve data on traffic. The solutions should include all modes of transport and be applicable to the entire city.

How can efficient, mobile work for the City of Munich’s employees and management staff be supported using a central, digital tool?

Munich envisions the future of work as flexible and mobile, and thus less dependent on office space. To optimize mobile working, it is necessary to have a clear overview, in real time and on mobile end devices, of which workspaces and rooms in nearby administrative locations are vacant and available. It should be possible to book these spaces on the go. The tool should also help management to maintain an overview of the local availability of employees. This will allow the City of Munich to use space in a more efficient way.

Innovative ideas which meet data protection requirements can be tested in selected expert teams from the Department of Public Order as part of the competition, with the possibility of expansion to the entire city administration in the future.

How can a – preferably digital – sampling method provide data of NOconcentrations to the City of Munich? The concentrations measured by the sampling device must stand up in court, must be compliant with the requirements and regulations of the 39th Federal Immission Protection Ordinance (Neununddreißigste Verordnung zur Durchführung des Bundes-Immissionsschutzgesetzes; 39. BlmSchV), must be directly accessible in terms of time and format, must comprise various averaging periods (annual, daily and hourly averages) and must cover as differentiated and graduated as possible the greatest possible area of the city of Munich.

At present the municipality of Munich uses a network of devices, that sample NO2 passively during a period of about 14 days („Passivsammler“). The samples are afterwards analysed in a laboratory. The plan is to use a pilot application to figure out possibilities to expand the established sampling network using certified, digital low-cost sensors. The aim is, to collect and provide legally sound data on air quality (NO2) in the city so as to visualize the aquired data for the area of the city. Expanding the measurement network to record concentrations of other pollutants which are relevant to air quality (particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5; ozone, benzene, etc.) would be desirable.

Additional background information on these issues can be found here (PDF, 84 KB)

2021 Winners

Preisträger der Innovationspreise der LHM 2021
Michael Nagy, LHM
from left: Mayor Katrin Habenschaden, Claudia Maier and Johannes Hochholzer (klink – Digitale Services unter dem Dach der Isarwatt), Karim Tarraf (Hawa Dawa GmbH), Ulrike Jehle and Elias Pajares (Plan4Better GmbH), Dr. Yang Ji and Wanting Lin (LiangDao GmbH)
  • Pilot project for digital NO2 measurements - Winner: Hawa Dawa GmbH
  • FlexiblesArbeiten@LHM (flexible work at the City of Munich) - Winner: klink – Digitale Services unter dem Dach der Isarwatt
  • Emission-free mobility in Munich - Winner: Plan4Better GmbH
  • Improved data on stationary and moving traffic - Winner: LiangDao GmbH
  • Visiting Munich – simply sustainable! - No award was given out in this category.

What are the benefits of taking part?

  • The winners will receive the City of Munich’s Innovation Award as well as the corresponding trophy and certificate from the city’s Deputy Mayor, Katrin Habenschaden.
  • The winning concept will be implemented in a real-world test environment. If you win the award, you will gain access to the city administration and to information and data that will help you to further develop and realize your ideas. Take advantage of the network comprising local government, start-up support and entrepreneurship programs. Benefit from coaching and knowledge sharing with a wide variety of experts. Fresh insights and a rewarding learning experience are guaranteed!
  • The press will attend the awards ceremony, presided over by the city’s Deputy Mayor, who is also the competition’s patron. As a finalist this will give you an excellent opportunity to showcase your capabilities and draw attention to your project.
  • After the implementation phase, the prize winners will be able to boast a reference project with one of the largest municipalities in Germany which you can use to promote yourselves.
  • UnternehmerTUM, the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship, the LMU Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center and the Entrepreneurship Center Founders@Unibw will offer the winners a direct participation in their entrepreneurship programs including XPRENEURS , the Start-up Certificate , the LMU IEC Accelerator , Founders@Unibw , or the Munich Global Impact Sprint depending on the respective conditions being fulfilled.
  • Last but not least, the competition allows you as a winning team to implement your ideas, to make a positive contribution to your surrounding environment, and to help to make Munich a more innovative and progressive city.

Any questions? Contact us!

General questions about the competition and the accompanying coaching:


Frieke Meijer-Schepman, Department of Labor and Economic Development, phone +49 (0)89 233-25461 

Questions about the accompanying coaching:

UnternehmerTUM program
Robert Kitson, mobile +49 (0)170 55 44 132

LMU Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center IEC program
Julia Wimmer, phone +49  (0)89 / 2180 6948

German Entrepreneurship
Felix Schoppa, phone +49 (0)175 413 0088

Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship program
Jana Hollmann, Tel. 089 / 550506-38

Entrepreneurship Center founders@unibw program
Nadine Chochoiek, Tel. 089 / 6004-4658

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