The City of Melbourne is getting ready to host the 2024 Open Innovation Competition. Now in its 6th year, the competition calls for innovative, technology-enabled solutions to the biggest challenges affecting our city.

In 2024, we shine the spotlight on zero-carbon and climate technology.

Finding practical and innovative ways to make the City of Melbourne more sustainable is one of our top priorities and has been for many years.

For example, we purchase 100 per cent renewable energy, all our major events are certified carbon neutral and since 2012, we’ve planted 3000 trees a year to grow our urban forest. We also use stormwater harvesting and water sensitive design to capture and reuse about 180,000 kilolitres of water every year.

In 2019, the City of Melbourne declared a climate emergency and committed to reaching a zero emissions target by 2040. But we can and must do more. We need even more great ideas and affirmative action to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change so Melbourne can remain a liveable city for future generations.

Problem statement

This year's competition asks the question:

Competition overview


This year’s Open Innovation Competition is motivated by The City of Melbourne’s Climate Change Mitigation Strategy to 2050.

“We’re proud to be leading Melbourne’s transition to becoming a zero net emissions city by 2040, but we can’t achieve this ambitious goal alone.” Lord Mayor, Sally Capp

The inspiration behind this year’s Open Innovation Competition is the City of Melbourne’s stance on climate change.

The City of Melbourne is leading by example. We are investing in renewable energy, urban forests, green buildings, waste innovation and in better pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Through such creative initiatives, we can deliver better health for our community together with economic, social and environmental benefits.

In 2019, the City of Melbourne declared a climate and biodiversity emergency and committed to a 1.5°C emissions reduction target. In doing so, we joined about 1400 jurisdictions in 27 countries around the world.

To support our declaration we committed to reaching Council’s zero emissions target for the municipality 10 years earlier, by 2040.

We are doing all this because we want our city to remain a great place to live, work and visit. But we can and must do more. Australia continues to be the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the developed world. This hurts our economy, our environment and our health.

With this in mind, we invite innovators, entrepreneurs, students and community members to submit their bright ideas to help solve this immense challenge.

What we are looking for

We are looking for submissions that:

  • Simultaneously address the challenge statement and a problem or opportunity in Melbourne.
  • Address at least one of the four opportunity areas.
  • Are new and exciting and may not have been trialled before in Melbourne, Australia or the world.
  • Are proactive solutions that are data-driven, utilise tech and have the ability to deliver results.

Opportunity areas

  1. Renewable Energy Integration and Storage:
    How do we advance the integration of renewable energy technologies for residents and businesses in Melbourne that delivers 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030?

  2. Public urban spaces:
    How can we design urban spaces to enhance biodiversity, air quality, and the well-being of communities and businesses?

  3. Zero Carbon Buildings:
    How can we accelerate greenhouse gas reduction by retrofitting existing buildings and introducing new technologies in an impactful and socially equitable way?

  4. Micro mobility:
    How do we transform personal urban mobility in the city, making it accessible, sustainable, efficient, safe and inclusive?

Guidelines and resources

Key Competition Dates

Competition Launch
Launch event
18 March 2024

Online Training and Community by Senversa
A comprehensive and interactive program including 6 webinars that will help you prepare for the competition.
18 March to 28 April 2024

Participant Support Sessions
Available through online Q&A and 1:1 sessions with a range of mentors and experts.
19 March to 26 April 2024

Competition closes
11.59pm on 28 April 2024

Finalists notified
Early June 2024

Pitch training for finalists delivered by 25eight
3 June to 25 June 2024

Competition Pitch Event
Finalist pitch showcase
Wednesday 26 June 2024

Access to mentors and experts

We would like to help you help us. Since this competition requires a good understanding of the stakeholders' concerns and experiences, we have arranged access to 1:1 sessions with a range of mentors and experts for anyone considering entering the competition.

These sessions are designed to assist your understanding of the issues, ask questions and test your idea before completing your submission.

  • Check out the available mentors and experts, then book a time for a 1:1 session with them via their Calendly link.
  • You can also submit a question via the public Q&A tool on this platform.

Remember before booking:

  • Each expert generously volunteers their time.
  • Prepare beforehand to maximise your session.
  • Respect their time by honouring your appointment.

Online course with Senversa

A comprehensive and interactive program including 6 webinars that will help you prepare for the competition. Conducted by experts proficient in establishing and communicating climate solutions businesses, this training is free for all participants, aiming to enhance your experience in the program.

20 March to 24 April 2024

Register now.

One-on-one pitch training

Monday 3 June to Tuesday 25 June

We are offering free in-depth one-on-one pitch training will be offered to the finalists chosen to pitch at the final showcase event. The date and format of the pitch training will be confirmed and communicated as finalists are announced.

The judging panel includes representatives from the City of Melbourne and the competition’s partner organisations. The panel will evaluate submissions based on the following five criteria:

Innovation – the extent to which the submission is unique to, or adds value to, existing solutions.

Impact – the extent to which the submission demonstrates the potential to effect change.

Scalability – the extent to which the submission can scale, including its appeal to secure buy–in and/or a wide customer base.

Technically and conceptually sound – the extent to which the submission addresses the brief. Namely, the concerns and needs of our community (city workers, visitors and residents) and/or how it is supported by data or other evidence.

Feasibility – the ease with which the submission can translate into a sustainable and cost-effective operating model.

Prizes will be awarded to the Open Innovation Competition winner/s and other top submissions. The prizes include:

Cash prizes
A cash pool of no less than $30,000 to be divided among the top submissions.

MAP Velocity program
Two of the top submissions will receive admission into MAP's 2023 Velocity program, an early stage startup incubator run by the Melbourne Accelerator Program. The 12-week program comprises 10 workshops centred around customer discovery and market validation with specialised experiences for both for-profit and for-purpose entrepreneurs.

RMIT LaunchHUB Bootcamp program
Two of the top submissions* will receive fast track tickets into RMIT Activator’s LaunchHUB Pre-Accelerator competitive selection process to be considered into the 12-week program and an opportunity to access the Capital Fund.
* Must have an affiliation to RMIT (current or former students or staff).

StartSpace prize
One of the top submissions will receive complimentary StartSpace Loft membership for up to 2 team members for 2 months. StartSpace is a business support service and community for new and early stage founders located within the State Library Victoria.

Startup Victoria Membership
One of the winners (up to 4 team members) will receive networker membership to Startup Victoria so they can connect with others who love startups. Membership provides access to the Startup Victoria member portal, discounted tickets to events, partner offers, startup resource library and Startup Victoria’s jobs board.

Stone & Chalk 3-months membership
One of the top submissions will receive a complimentary Stone & Chalk residency package for 3 months at their Melbourne Startup Hub, including one hot desk space and commercialisation support (for new residents only).

Illume Foundation’s Venture Capital Fellowship
Two of the top submissions will receive admission into Illume Foundation’s Venture Capital Fellowship, a program designed to assist founders in comprehending and navigating fundraising. Additionally, selected participants will be paired with an analyst to evaluate their startup's investment readiness.

Antler’s mentoring session

One of the top submissions will receive a one-on-one mentoring session with Antler.

We're delighted to work with several partners to deliver the Open Innovation Competition 2024. Find out who the partners are.

Submit an idea

Complete the Open Innovation Competition entry form by 11.59pm Sunday 28 April 2024.

Open Innovation Competition