smart urban pioneers. Ideate what's next.

smart urban pioneers 2017

Mercedes-Benz and SXSW are teaming up to invite visitors to the first me Convention, set to be staged at the Frankfurt Festhalle between 15 and 17 September. The occasion: this year's International Motor Show (IAA), which is focusing on the future of the car.

Here smart is again offering creative pioneers a platform to pitch innovative ideas that are designed to enhance our towns and cities. These ideas aren't restricted to mobility. They can cover any concept relating to urban living.

Innovators will go head-to-head in three different categories in our ideas contest. The smart urban pioneers jury, headed by smart boss Dr Annette Winkler, will assess all of the ideas submitted and select twelve stand-out projects. The innovators behind these will be able to pitch their idea to a live audience at the IAA.

The exciting climax will take place on 17 September. Three start-ups will meet in the final and pitch for the €5000, €10,000 and €20,000 prize money. The overall winner will also receive additional support and valuable feedback over the course of a one-year smart urban pioneers mentoring scheme.

The me Convention programme.

The me Convention is designed to bring together some of the top minds in the creative, design and technology worlds. Over the course of the three days, these hand-picked experts will take a look at our future: with exciting lectures and presentations, interactive workshops and labs, talks, panel discussions and art installations. smart is not only contributing top-class speakers to the me Convention programme but will also be seeking out and encouraging urban pioneers with the smart urban pioneers ideas contest.

The categories.

Urban living solutions

Urban living solutions: This module centres around essential tricks and hacks for better urban living.

Urban electrical solutions

Urban electrical solutions: How can intelligent technologies, state-of-the-art network solutions or big data applications improve our lives?

Urban environmental solutions

Urban environmental solutions: In the past, eco-friendly used to equal lower quality of life. In this category we are seeking out lateral thinkers and inventors with solutions for a better and more sustainable future.


The chair, Dr Annette Winkler. 

Annette Winkler took charge of smart, Daimler AG's brand for urban mobility, in 2010. Born in Wiesbaden, the economics graduate led her father’s construction company very successfully for many years – she was named Entrepreneur of the Year before joining Daimler in 1995. Here she initiated long-term change processes, establishing extensive customer satisfaction measures. In her role at smart, Winkler headed the development of the latest smart generation, including the electrification of the entire smart fleet and keeps taking urban mobility to the next level by adding more and more services to the smart car.

urban pioneers 2017 - the jury
Our expert jury.

A top-quality line-up, including Conrad Fritzsch, Director of Digital Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler AG. As Senior Manager Business Strategy and Development at smart, Daniel Deparis is responsible for the smart lab. The journalist Don Dahlmann writes and blogs about topics such as the future of mobility, electrification, car sharing and the economy. Also Dr Jeff Wilson, whose company Kasita in Austin offers ingenious and beautifully designed micro houses. And, last but not least, Scott Wilcox, who heads the SXSW Innovation Group, bridging the gap between emerging trends, future technologies and interdisciplinary partnerships.

20 years of innovation.

smart urban pioneers

smart has declared its aim to support start-ups in the areas of mobility, urban living and sustainability. What do we hope to achieve by doing this? Our goal is very clear: to improve the quality of life for everyone and help promote the city of the future.

We are questioning the status quo – as one of the most innovation-driven brands in the car industry. We were already demonstrating that 20 years ago when we introduced our first model and revolutionised urban mobility.

How come we know what we're talking about? Because a big idea can lead to something great. That's part of the story of our brand.

Last year.

In 2016 smart staged the first smart urban pioneers ideas contest. Out of all of the suggestions submitted from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the top-class jury of experts chose the top 10. Supporters from around the world voted to select the three finalists and helped them to translate their visions for a better city into reality with crowdfunding. smart contributed €50,000 for the best projects.

Gallery of winners 2016.