2023 Community Challenge

A densely populated urban settlement in Hong Kong
A densely populated urban settlement in Hong Kong, surrounded by busy streets and characterized by closely built buildings. © GettyImages-LewisTsePuiLung

Tackle some of the most pressing challenges of our time with the collective power of innovation!

Cities are vital for economic development and social progress, with over 50% of the world's population living in urban areas. However, rapid urbanisation is putting a strain on infrastructure, resources, and services, leading to overcrowding, pollution, and other negative impacts.

Climate change poses a significant threat to cities worldwide, with sea levels projected to rise by up to 1 metre by the end of the century, putting coastal cities at risk of flooding and storm surges. Bridging the infrastructure gap is also essential, as many cities worldwide lack sufficient investment in this area, with Nigeria alone needing to spend about $3 trillion over the next 30 years.

We called on all entrepreneurs, thinkers, and doers within the community of Germany alumni to develop innovative and entrepreneurial ideas to address such challenges. Solutions that can help cities become more sustainable, equitable, and resilient are needed.

Challenge timeline

1. Attending the online course on social entrepreneurship (optional)
2. Submission of ideas
3. Harnessing the innovative power of the community
4. Presentation of the favored ideas
5. Professional entrepreneurial mentorship

Our criteria for choosing the best ideas

How do we decide which ideas are admitted to the pitching event?

The ideas are selected through a two-stage process:

1. Jury selection: Our jury, made up of professionals from various fields including urban planning, architecture, social and economic development, waste and water management, energy, transport, entrepreneurship and finance, is guided by the following criteria:

  • Problem space clarity: What is the setting/context for this idea? How clear do they seem about the problem space they operate in?
  • Solution: Do they have good assumptions/hypotheses behind the solution? Have they conducted or devised experiments to test those hypotheses?
  • Uniqueness/Defensibility: Do they undersand what are some existing solutions in the market? How do they plan to differentiate?
  • Feasibility: What are the chances for the idea to be implemented?

The judges' scores will be weighted 50% in the final decision.

2. Community voting: The 29 published ideas are open to community voting. Community members will be able to vote for a maximum of 3 ideas. The community votes will be weighted 50% in the final decision.

The ideas with the highest overall scores will be selected as the winners.

Our jury


What are some of the challenges cities are facing nowadays?
How can social entrepreneurship help to address the challenges cities are facing?
What is crowd innovation?
What is SDG 11?


  • Kirsten


    Hello Shivam, thank you for your message!

    We have spent the last few weeks evaluating your ideas and preparing the next steps for the challenge. By the beginning of next week at the latest, you will receive an email detailing the next steps. We look forward to your continued participation!

    Best wishes,
    Kirsten from the Alumniportal Germany team

  • Shivam Gupta


    Hi All, I am a bit lost as to what happens next, I submitted the idea and the follow up questionnaire but unclear on what to do now.

  • Kirsten


    Hello Aida, thank you very much for your message. The proposal should be innovative and new, but it is of course also possible to use an idea inspired by an existing product or idea. As for your question, I wouldn't say that the focus of the competition is on either-or. For the submission of the idea, it is sufficient to share your idea explaining its background, context and goal. The focus should lay on how you intend to solve a particular problem and supporting evidence that demonstrates its potential to function effectively. It doesn't have to be fully developed, however. Winners of the challenge receive professional entrepreneurial mentorship to develop their concept into business plans. So I would say that for the submission of the idea, the focus is on idea generation, while after the idea is presented during the pitching event, the focus is on developing the concept into something real. If you win, you will get professional entrepreneurial mentorship to help you in terms of implementation. I hope I could answer your question(s) and I look forward to reading about your idea!

  • Aida Papikyan


    While reflecting on the potential idea, I faced a dilemma, about which I would like to get some hints. Should the proposal be based on an idea/product that already exists on the market/has been implemented somewhere or should it rather be a breakthrough of some kind? In the first case, if the proposed idea is already there, it would not be innovative any longer, while if the alternative is the case, a question about the feasibility of its implementation arises. Probably my question would be, is the focus more on the idea generation or on its implementation, or would a working group be established that could potentially combine their skills towards a certain goal?
    Thanks in advance!

  • Merah Boumediene.


    I would have just mentioned, that l have an Idea about how to minimiser thé CO2 ,area affect.
    May used in Small cités.

  • Alumniportal Deutschland-Team


    Hi Mary,
    Thank you for interest! If you'd like to participate in the challenge, please make sure to submit your idea by 23 July via the official submission form (yellow box above).
    Best regards

  • Mary Kemi Idowu


    I have an idea and expertise in converting abundant solid organic wastes in cities to compose for soil and / or nutrient culture vegetable production towards women empowerment, food and nutrition.

  • Daniela


    Dear Emana Getu Degaga,
    Thank you for your comment. We are looking forward to receiving your idea submission!

  • Daniela


    Dear Walber José Magalhães Pereira, Thank you for your comment and explaining about the mango trees in your city - sounds like that can have a real positive effect on the climate within the city :)

  • Daniela


    Dear Mgesi Juma Machera, Thank you for your comment and for submitting your idea for the challenge :)

  • Daniela


    Dear Dr M Jamil Khan, Thank you for your comment. If you would like to submit your idea for the challenge, please use the provided form - just click on the button in the yellow box "Submit you idea now!". Best, Daniela

  • Dr M Jamil Khan


    I have an idea of zero waste water cities.

  • Mgesi Juma Machera


    Implementing tire recycling project will enable the city to be clean. The project will create employment to many people and hence reduce unemployment in cities

  • Walber José Magalhães Pereira


    The capital city of my State, Pará( Belem) is known by the hostorical MANGO TREES that have been planted and kept through the years on the avenues and amall streets of the city.Because of the shades they provide for us,citizens,who would not bear the heat of 40 degrees of ou region north Brazil.Agreat solution for hot or rainy places.An adaptarion shoyld be made for cold and temperate countries.

  • Emana Getu Degaga


    This is a wonderful platform to contribute the Global Development Goal. I will organize my idea and provide information required in the area of Life Science.

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