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CityTech RUHR: The Bottrop & Gelsenkirchen Challenges
Thomas Mueller28. April 20204 min read

CityTech RUHR: The Bottrop & Gelsenkirchen Challenges

With Germany's largest international smart city startup challenge, the Ruhr Metropolis - City of Cities - is calling start-ups from across the globe to apply and solve the real-world challenges of four cities: Bochum, Bottrop, Hagen and Gelsenkirchen through a paid pilot. The application deadline has been extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic until May 3, 2020. In the following paragraphs, we will look more closely on the Bottrop and Gelsenkirchen challenges.

The challenges represent a huge opportunity for startups to pilot their solutions in one of Europe's largest metropolitan areas, offering the potential of scaling the solutions to numerous other cities in the region and Germany's most populous state North-Rhine Westphalia that face similar problems.

The Bottrop Challenge: How can technology and data support economic growth for local businesses?

The City of Bottrop is looking for technological solutions to support economic growth for companies in the city center. The fact that more and more people are shopping online and that local retailers are under strong pressure to withstand the competition from digital giants such as Amazon and Co. is also noticeable in the inner city image of Bottrop. At the same time, Bottrop is in a strategically unfavorable location between the large shopping centers - the Centro Oberhausen and the Shopping City Essen. As a result, local businesses and retail outlets in the city center are less visited, leading to a high vacancy rate of shops in the inner city of Bottrop. The city of Bottrop therefore asks two primary questions:

  • How can we get more people to buy, eat and use services locally and keep the city center lively and attractive?
  • How can we learn more about the users of the city center and provide them with targeted services and retail offers?

Today there is a good offer for the things necessary but not the extra special things to do window-shopping. There also need to be more leisure-related offers (sport or play) for kids and young people to visit the city center.

Two major redevelopment projects and the foundation of the university in Bottrop in 2010 have already brought new target groups and new cultural and gastronomy businesses to the city center, making the inner city more attractive to different population groups. This trend needs to be fortified through new offers/initiatives and ways to incentivize leisure and shopping, so that residents stay longer in the city and spend more money in the local shops, cultural institutions and restaurants. 

The desired result would be an inner city full of shops and people without vacant commercial space. Bottrop is striving for an attractive mix of diverse shops and urban entertainment services - gastronomy, culture, etc. - in an attractive environment.

Click below to learn more and apply for the Bottrop Challenge of CityTech RUHR!

Apply now for the Bottrop Challenge

The Gelsenkirchen / Schalke 04 Challenge: Blockchain-enabled communication and community development

The renowned German football club FC Schalke 04, based in Gelsenkirchen, wants to utilize innovative blockchain solutions for community development and to efficiently communicate with its members, visitors and customers. The blockchain solution should help to develop a distinctive "marketing world" with a new payment solution for the football club.

The implementation of a blockchain-based "S04 token" along with new digital products can be invented and developed. The "S04 token" is intended to become a marketing tool that supports digital marketing products, services during the season and on the training grounds (e.g. digital collectibles, e-ticketing, communication within the community) and to involve members in the club's decision-making processes.

Schalke 04 wants to break new ground in order to better integrate existing customers into the S04 world and win potential new customers. The club would like to innovate the way it markets its products in order to better promote its community. Currently, there is no attractive digital marketing interaction between the club and its members/fans, nor does Schalke 04 have an innovative payment system or products and digital services.

The desired result should be a full integration of the "S04" token during match days and training sessions and to include all products and marketing services. The club hopes that the desired developments will be well received by its members and fans.

It is also conceivable that tokens could be integrated into community services (e.g. for event booking, ticket sales for public transport etc.), because the City of Gelsenkirchen also wants to utilize cryptocurrency for city services and marketplaces in the city (e.g. local retail, gastronomy and the tourism industry).

Click below to apply for the FC Schalke 04 / Gelsenkirchen Challenge of CityTech RUHR!

Apply now for the Gelsenkirchen Challenge

More about CityTech RUHR - Call for better Cities:

Startups are encouraged to apply for one of the program’s challenges until May 3, 2020. All relevant information about the overall CityTech RUHR call, the individual challenges and the application process are easily accessible on the challenge website. Click below to go directly to the CityTech RUHR website.

Explore the CityTech RUHR Challenges



Thomas Mueller

Thomas Müller is Managing Partner at bee smart city. With more than 15 years of public sector experience, he is an expert on smart city strategy and projects.