Enterprise Ventures represent larger-scale Smart Urban Innovations led by the private sector in cities where the government has provided the necessary groundwork for their success and, at times, acts as a key partner in delivery. Large national or international private sector players usually lead the design and implementation of these innovations, often collaborating with a range of professional partners that are incentivized equally by both profitability and public impact.

Key characteristics of Enterprise Ventures

  • Innovations are designed and delivered primarily by well-established, for-profit private actors such as corporates and at-scale enterprises. The government enables these innovations by creating the right regulatory and resource conditions and often partners with private players in the funding and implementation of these solutions.
  • Solutions are typically tried and tested in other markets. However, private actors seek aggregated city-level data to calibrate solutions according to local contexts. Insights from frequently updated, often real-time city data are used to course correct and deliver solutions.
  • Frontier technology is used, often manifesting in the form of hardware solutions, retrofitted to leverage existing physical infrastructure. Based on the complexity of the problem, innovative financing mechanisms may be deployed.

How to promote this kind of innovations?

  • Lead with the problem statement, not the technology. Ensure that private sector interventions are led entirely by the challenge at hand and responding to the public objectives, while recognizing that technology is only a tool and not an end in itself.
  • Determine incentives for private sector participation. When focusing on a specific challenge, identify which are the elements that disincentivise private investment in that area, and ideate mechanisms to make it more attractive for private sector to develop solutions. These mechanisms can include facilitating quick wins, piloting solutions, regulatory sandboxes or long- term partnership options.
  • Help test and kick-start the solution. Provide initial support to quick-start and test the solution. Public authorities can provide context, access to end-users (public officials or citizens), initial financing and/or institutional cooperation. Support localised pilots first before scaling them at citywide level when the results are validated.
  • Provide oversight to ensure citizen centricity. Ensure that citizen centricity is not being compromised at the expense of profits and that quality services are affordable and accessible for all residents without discrimination by tying incentives to performance and including impact measurements on most vulnerable groups.