Big Smart Cities 6th edition

October 1, 2018 3:30 pm

This year’s edition of the Big Smart Cities – an entrepreneurial competition promoted by Vodafone Portugal and Ericsson Portugal – will focus on the potential of 5G technology, looking for ideas and projects that can be accelerated by the mobile network of the future. Applications will run until October 21.



The focus of this competition comes after the launch in June of Vodafone 5G Hub, an open knowledge and innovation production center that brings together partners in the telecommunications sector, industry, universities, researchers and startups. The goal is to promote an ecosystem conducive to the development of new technology to take advantage of all the potentialities that 5G presents.



In addition to Vodafone, the 5G Hub has Ericsson’s close partnership, and in this sense, the Big Smart Cities being an initiative promoted by the two companies, the 6th edition of the competition seeks projects for two different programs: the 5G University Challenge and the 5G Startup Competition.


The two programs aim to capture projects in different stages of development:
• The 5G University Challenge is aimed at university teams with ideas that could have practical applications for 5G, showing the potential of the fifth generation mobile in smart cities solutions;
• For projects in a more advanced development phase, the 5G Startup Competition emerges, aimed at technology startups that are already developing projects for the smart cities of the future that can be boosted with the 5G network.


Once selected, the finalists in each of the programs benefit from a pre-acceleration period, as well as training sessions, workshops and tutoring with 5G experts from both Vodafone and Ericsson, who will help the projects prepare for the grand finale, in December, where they will have to present their project before a specialized jury.


The winners also receive cash prizes – € 1,000 in the case of the University Challenge and ten thousand at the Startup Competition -, incubation at Vodafone Power Lab and the opportunity to be able to develop their projects at the Vodafone 5G Hub at the company’s headquarters where they will have all the technical conditions to try out their solutions on the Vodafone mobile network.


Applications can be submitted on the official website ( until October 21, corresponding to one of five categories: Mobility, Energy, Health, Tourism and Education. In addition to the site, the 5G Startup Competition will have three own initiatives to attract candidates – the usual City Challenges – that take place in Coimbra (September 25), Porto (October 3) and Lisbon (October 16). The winners of the City Challenges receive 500 euros and are automatically calculated for the 20 finalist batch.


National Network of Experimental Cities with open applications

Parallel to the 6th edition of the Big Smart Cities, applications for the National Network of Experimental Cities (RNCE) program are also open, which, like last year, will allow the testing of prototypes in real context. Applications can be submitted at


The 6th edition of the Big Smart Cities comes after several years of promoting national technological entrepreneurship, promoted by Vodafone and Ericsson and organized by the New School of Business and Economics. Last year, Pavnext was the big winner of the competition with a roadblock that slows down and takes advantage of the kinetic energy of the cars for other purposes. The startup won the opportunity to test the project in Cascais, under the RNCE, and is currently preparing the final prototype.


Also awarded were Tram Grid, a fast electric vehicle charger; Smart Forest, an integrated sensor solution for more information on forests; and Tibu, a mobile application that connects independent travelers to locally experienced people.

Throughout five editions, the Big Smart Cities has received more than 900 applications. The competition integrates Vodafone Power Lab, a Vodafone Portugal incubator, which has helped more than 100 projects and contributed to the creation of more than 40 companies