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Readiness Challenge Grant

In-Kind Support to USA, Canada, and International Regional
Agencies for Technology Programs that Promote City Sustainability

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Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Smart Cities Council

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In-kind support and resources to USA, Canada, and International government agencies and regional authorities to participate in a large-scale smart technology program to improve urban areas. Funding is intended to give cities the technological resources and support services needed to create sustainable communities that will benefit all residents.

Each year, the Smart Cities Council provides expert coaching, workshops, products, services, access to grants and other financing opportunities to five (5) communities in North America (Canada, Mexico, and US.) Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand (‘SCC ANZ’) has produced a similar program in Australia and New Zealand. In 2020, SCC ANZ will also produce a Smart Urban Challenge in ASEAN.

In 2020, all applicants will have free access to Smart Cities Activator, an online collaboration portal that allows cities to plan their own projects' confidentiality and collaborate with other cities globally in meeting common needs.

The Smart Cities Council's purpose for producing the Readiness Challenge is to: 

  • Accelerate cities becoming livable, workable and sustainable
  • Design a challenge that cities win just by participating.
  • Share actionable knowledge

The 2020 focus is on projects that promote sustainability and resiliency. How do your projects provide for a sustainable future and are they resilient considering the constant pressures your city faces from man-made (I.e., cybersecurity) and natural disasters?

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177843

Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:


Finalists will receive a travel scholarship to Smart Cities Week San Diego in April 2020 and/or Smart Cities Week Washington DC in October 2020 to present your smart city project plans and possibly become a Winner.

Along with workshops, travel scholarships, publicity and mentoring, the Council will be adding in-kind benefits and grants throughout the year.


The Council works with the Winner and takes into account where it is on its journey and then co-creates with the Winner an appropriate capacity development process with desired outcomes. Examples could include a custom designed on-site Readiness Workshop, a collaborative Readiness Workshop where multiple cities work together on a solution or funded participation at a conference or event where the Winner can present its winning project plan to other cities and learn from other cities and experts.

In-kind benefits and grants as they become available. The Council is negotiating grants for development of feasibility studies and business cases for Winners to accelerate project implementation.

Publicity about your city’s ‘Readiness’ to be a smart city, delivering livability, workability and sustainability to your residents.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Previous finalists and winners of the Readiness Challange are eligible to apply.

Applicants are cities in North American (Canada, Mexico, US) local, state or provincial government or regional authority that represents local resident interests. Includes special districts focused on improving local conditions. Examples would include innovation districts or transportation districts, academic campuses, military bases, ports, harbors, and airports. Cities are encouraged to expand their applicant group to include as many local stakeholders as they can, such as nonprofits, academia, and commercial interests. Past winners have included states (Virginia) and regional coalitions (Cleantech San Diego.)

Cities Outside North America - Yes, the Council will consider nominating a non-North American city as a Finalist and Winner if the project plans are unique and useful to the rest of the world and logistics for travel and a Readiness Workshop are reasonable.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Webinars – on January 30, 2020 at 11 AM ET the Council will conduct a webinar to help applicants. The webinar will be recorded and made available to all interested parties.

Finalists will have the option of attending the San Diego Readiness Workshop on April 20, at which 18 cities, the port and airport of San Diego all meet to accelerate regional planning

Pre-Application Information:

Application deadline for the Spring Round of Winners is March 16, 2020 (there will be a second round of applications with Winners announced in October 2020 (‘Fall Round.’)

Finalists for the Spring Round announced on March 24, 2020. Spring Round of Winners announced at Smart Cities Week San Diego on April 22, 2020.

Readiness Guide:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

Contact Form:

Philip Bane, Executive Director
202-650-0023 ext. 103

Jason Nelson, Executive Director Partner Engagement
202-650-0023 x104

Smart Cities Council
Smart Cities Council, Inc
1900 Campus Commons Drive, Suite 100
Reston, VA 20191

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon

International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.

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