Garching near Munich, 29 July 2020. Empty stores and offices, busy streets: More and more people are resorting to the use of their car or bike again, as they are afraid of contracting the virus on public transport. At the same time, gatherings in public spaces are on the rise. The COVID-19 pandemic is changing human behaviour and it’s becoming particularly evident in urban conglomerations. How can cities ensure safe urban mobility, take people’s needs into account and create livable spaces? The SPECIAL: COVID-19 EIT Urban Mobility Accelerator programme supports startups in finding solutions for such challenges. The programme was created by EIT Urban Mobility with international partners Futurebox, PoliHub, Technion and UnternehmerTUM.

According to a study from Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, 60% of respondents feel uncomfortable taking public transport at the moment, preferring instead to take private transport – their car or bike – to protect themselves. Six out of ten people shop at stores less often, with a quarter of them shopping online more often. Entrance controls, waiting in line, distancing rules and compulsory masks are keeping people away. As a result of clubs and concert halls being closed, and bars and restaurants putting restrictions in place, people are flocking to public places and partying there. How can safety and community be shaped in cities under these new conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic?

To get concrete solutions off the ground for dealing with these challenges, the EIT (European Institute of Innovation and Technology) Urban Mobility has initiated the Urban Mobility Special: COVID-19 EIT Accelerator programme together with the accelerators Futurebox from Denmark, PoliHub from Italy, the Technion DRIVE accelerator from Israel and the UnternemerTUM innovation incubator.

The three-month program is geared toward founders who, through innovative technologies and entrepreneurial approaches, offer solutions for mobility-related customer issues. The focus is on challenges caused by COVID-19 and opportunities for cities and urban environments. This includes solutions that:

  • Create liveable urban spaces and take into account social distancing and novel sanitisation.
  • Close knowledge gaps about how to handle COVID-19 in public spaces and how to inform citizens, mobility workers and politicians.
  • Offer mobility approaches which take into account COVID-19 safety measures and complement the current range of mobility options.
  • Make use of new market opportunities in such areas as the circular economy, innovative materials, data protection and security.
  • Promote effective human behaviour and thereby support the creation of economic and social resilience. This includes sensors that measure the distance between people and that sound an alarm if they get too close to each other.

Through the Accelerator programme, founders will learn to optimise their solution’s effect with regard to COVID-19-specific cases and plan out the medium- and long-term goals of their entrepreneurial development. Industry experts and experienced founders will provide them with support along the way.

The participants will benefit from the international exchange between the partners’ four locations and their collaborations, both with each other and with the global networks of EIT Urban Mobility and their partners. This includes contacts for pilot projects with responsible places and decision-makers in municipalities and public utilities. In addition, the participants will have free access to co-working spaces over the course of the three months.

The Accelerator programme is now open to applications until 9 August 2020. Applicants are welcome to indicate the partner with whom they would preferably like to participate on site. The 50 best startup companies will be invited to pitch before a jury. The programme will begin on 31 August 2020 with 23 teams. Further information about applying to the Accelerator programme can be found here.

The program is part of the EIT Crisis Response Initiative and is subsidised by the EU. Further information is available at https://eit.europa.eu/our-activities/covid-19-response/eit-crisis-response-initiative.



EIT Urban Mobility

EIT Urban Mobility aims to accelerate solutions and the transition towards a user-centric, integrated and truly multimodal transport system. As the leading European innovation community for urban mobility, EIT Urban Mobility works to avoid fragmentation by facilitating collaboration between cities, industry, academia, research and innovation to solve the most pressing mobility challenges of cities. Using cities as living labs, its industry, research and university partners will demonstrate how new technologies can work to solve real problems in real cities by transporting people, goods and waste in smarter ways. For more information visit www.eiturbanmobility.eu.

About Futurebox

Futurebox is Denmark’s leading incubator and accelerator for deep tech startups and university spinouts. Futurebox is part of DTU Science Park located at the Danish Technical University campus. +3500 people work in the +230 companies situated in the science park in close proximity to the technical university. More about Futurbox https://dtusciencepark.com/fut...

About PoliHub

PoliHub is the Innovation Park and Startup Accelerator of Politecnico di Milano supporting high innovative startups with scalable business models, and fostering cross-fertilization processes among University, startups and consolidated companies focused on innovation. Located in the Milan north district which has been becoming a new Innovation District with a focus on deep tech innovation. It is an incubator geared with spaces and facilities (+8000 sqm), laboratories, competences and network.
More about PoliHub https://www.polihub.it/

About Technion DRIVE Accelerator

The Technion DRIVE Accelerator is located inside the Technion campus and leverages on the Technion’s top researchers and experts, huge alumni network, labs, excellent academic programs and local ecosystem. Located in Haifa- the home to many multinational corporations, such as Intel, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Philips, General Electric, Qualcomm etc., the DRIVE further enjoys a nurturing ecosystem for the startups. All DRIVE portfolio startups utilize deep technology. The DRIVE provides its companies with funding, mentoring, workshops, coaching, space, access to labs, experts and talents, connection to a worldwide network of investors and multinational corporates.
More about Technion DRIVE Accelerator https://www.techniondrive.com/

About UnternehmerTUM GmbH

UnternehmerTUM, the biggest entrepreneurship center in Europe, offers founders and startups a complete service: from the development of an initial idea to IPO. A team of 240 experienced entrepreneurs, including scientists and investors, support startups with the development of their products, services and business models and a curated mentor network. The experts accompany the startup teams actively to help them build their companies, with market entry strategies and financing as well as with connections to business angels and venture capital.

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