Get in a Ring is considered the biggest start-up competition in the world and it will happen for the first time in Portugal. The date for the Portuguese final is set on the 9th of June, the day when solutions will be presented in an online boxing ring with companies fighting not only for the audience’s vote but also the preference of municipalities and the jury panel.
With more than 200 cities involved, this initiative is promoted by Building Global Innovators (BGI), a global technological and innovation accelerator with headquarters in Lisbon and an operation center in Cambridge. In Portugal, the contest will allow entrepreneurs to present pilot projects that respond to the mobility challenges launched by Braga Fundão, Abrantes and Angra do Heroísmo.
Each city defined its priorities set in two main axes – reduction of carbon footprint and the increase of quality of life of its residents. For example, Braga wants to strengthen safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Fundão, on the other side, looks for optimization of the transportation network in areas with low population density. Lastly, Abrantes and Angra do Heroísmo want to attract more users for their bus systems (see boxes below).
Applications focused on innovation and sustainability were presented and now it’s Building Global Innovators’ turn to select the 10 finalists, with direct access to a program guided by mentors of the Vodafone Power Lab incubator. These are the start-ups that will also participate in the online debate happening on June 9 on the website http://getinthering.co/ and where the winner for each city will be announced.
The four finalists will win a monetary prize of five thousand euros and will also compete between themselves for the national title. The winner will have the opportunity of representing Portugal in the Global Final of Get in The Ring, counting with the presence of more than 220 municipalities. Sponsored by EIT urban Mobility, a network of mobility innovation of the European Union, the initiative culminates with the consecration of the world winner, which will count on the support of BGI to attract new partners, clients and investors. The last step of the contest still hasn’t a date or place set.
BRAGA Not having the possibility of increasing its road accesses – for budget reasons – Braga’s Town Hall wants to find solutions in the existing roads that allow pedestrians and cyclists to safely coexist with car traffic. Nevertheless, these changes cannot compromise the fluidity of car traffic, warns the municipality, reminding the participants that the city is a starting point and a passage point between the neighboring municipalities, connections that are considered “vital” for the region’s production capabilities.
FUNDÃO With 23 parishes and 61 villages, Fundão has half of its population living far away from urban centers and without access to regular transportation services. With an average of over 30 minutes to reach the center of town, in some cases surpassing the hour, the elderly and the students are the most affected by this isolation. The challenge is to identify mobility solutions that correspond to the needs of the population living in low population density areas.
ABRANTES The municipality wants to introduce solutions that allow attracting more passengers, including residents and tourists, to the mini-bus aBUSa. The challenge goes mainly through finding answers that improve the circulation of vehicles in the main axes of the historical center of Abrantes. The aBUSa was the transportation alternative found by Abrante’s Town Hall in order to respond to automobile use and its consequent atmospheric and noise pollution.
ANGRA DO HERÍSMO To define a more attractive public transportation mean is the starting point for increasing its usage by 50% and reducing by half the number of cars inside the city. The municipality hopes that these goals can be achieved through the optimization of schedules and routes in its municipal network, involving nine urban parishes and an inter-municipal one connecting Angra do Heroísmo to Praia da Vitória.