As a young startup in Turku, UrbanZee focusses on the problem of measuring the air pollution of cities in detail and make it actionable. The goal is to help citizens in many cities around the world, to make better decisions and minimise their exposure to harmful air pollutants.
As any large city, Helsinki is also concerned about air quality, and started the Hope Helsinki initiative (Healthy Outdoor Premises for Everyone). This initiative is part of the EU Urban Innovative Action (UIA) programme to develop innovative and sustainable urban solutions. This EU programme allows municipalities to invest in ideas that might be otherwise seen as too risky or unproven. Forum Virium, Helsinki’s innovation company, developed a competition within Hope Helsinki to select the most novel concepts from the winning companies to be tested in Helsinki.
During Summer, the UrbanZee team applied to the Hope Helsinki competition. “Participating in Hope Helsinki helped us further develop our gamification concept”, said UrbanZee’s CEO Aschwin van der Woude, “the approach taken by Hope Helsinki had many parallels to our own concept, and through that lens we improved our own business ideas”.
UrbanZee applied in the cross-innovation track within the competition, and reached sixth place out of 26 competing companies. The top two submissions within the track were awarded prices, both had interesting innovation related to using a digital twin of the city to visualise not only air quality, but also other data and even aspects of urban planning.
“We received many high quality submissions to the competition, making it challenging for the panel of experts to select the winners”, explained UIA HOPE’s project manager Pekka Niskasaari from Forum Virium, “UrbanZee was one of the few to apply gamification, which was judged to be an interesting innovative approach and the most mature”.
The Hope Helsinki initiative aims to hold another competition next year, to which UrbanZee intends to apply. “We will continue to develop our business, so that by next year our offering will be even more competitive and hopefully we get to the top in the next competition“, concludes CEO van der Woude.
Hope Helsinki: https://forumvirium.fi/en/uia-hope/. (English version), https://forumvirium.fi/uia-hope-dataan-perustuvia-ilmanlaadun-parannustoimenpiteita/ (Finnish version), https://uia-initiative.eu/en/uia-cities/helsinki
Forum Virium: http://forumvirium.fi/