Challenge: Business Marathon Energy

Clean Energy & Smart Grid

All over the world people are increasingly living in cities and urban areas. Cities are becoming more densely populated and the question arises: how do we maintain a good quality of life, which is sustainable, healthy, clean and comfortable? One important aspect in this context is the production and consumption of energy in buildings and houses, for lights, heating, cooling, machinery and the like.

With ongoing innovations in sustainable energy technologies, making them more powerful and reliable, the use of fossil energy finally is on the decline. The price of sustainable energy is dropping below that of fossil in various places in the world, even with the current oil prices, giving a huge boost to the energy transition.

However, big challenges pop up, now that the experimental age is over and cities, countries and entire continents want to switch to this renewable energy source. How are we going to transform our current landscape and manage the ‘smart energy grid’, where local energy produced from sun, wind and water needs to be coordinated with energy consumption at different locations, at different times during the day?

The Business Marathon Energy is about these new challenges, set in the urban context. Going from real cases and problems, as brought in by the Challenge Partners, teams create innovative solutions and working prototypes in a 3-day 'hackathon', with 3 semi-finalists going for pitches on the main stage and win the big prize.

Theme 1: Transforming cities
With the global challenge of transforming to sustainable energy, how can we retrofit and renovate existing high-rise buildings, houses and apartment buildings to become energy neutral or even energy suppliers? How to scale up successful experiments and local initiatives? How to motivate home owners, home renters and home lenders to make the move? How to motivate construction engineers? What business cases can be developed?

Theme 2: Being local smart
With sustainable energy for a large part being created and also consumed locally, how can we organize people to make their streets, neighbourhoods and cities self-reliable? How to get all stakeholders like home owners, home renters, lenders, real estators, municipality, utility motivated? How to organize the ‘smart grid’ to balance out generation and consumption with local storage? How to combine technological innovation with behavioral change? What new business models and organisations can be developed?

Read the full story of this theme in the Appendix: “Position paper smart solar charging - EN.pdf” and watch the TEDxTalk Local Energysystem by Robin Berg.

Process Description
- Participating Campuseros: A maximum of 150 Campuseros, working together in a maximum of 20 teams can participate in the BM Energy. Idea owners and potential team leaders pitch their ideas, the participants vote on the most interesting ideas and then ideas are formed in an organic process. Minimum team size: 4 Campuseros

- Idea formation: Campuseros are stimulated to create ideas upfront. On Wednesday evening, people are inspired for ideas again. Beside that we’ll have some ready available ideas from the Challenge Partners.

Program and detailed information
Find the program and all information in detail on the Business Marathons Wiki.

The winning team will be awarded with a prize of € 2500.

Expected result​
Each team is expected to produce a working prototype of their solution, a business model of their idea, learn from some customer discovery and present an awesome pitch

Evaluation Criteria
The Judges will evaluate the presentation pitch performed by each competing team based on these criteria:
● Potential value for Society
● Viability of Business Model
● Attractiveness and usefulness of the developed Solution
● Learnings and insights gained from potential Users/Customers
● Originality

Technical information
Links to technical resources to be announced: APIs, open data sources, tools.

Pre-finals on Saturday morning:
Roy Ellenbroek, Municipality of Utrecht, Energy Fund Utrecht
Additional judges to be announced

Casper Koomen is a product ideator and creative thinker. For a variety of themes he organises hackathons and he is an experienced facilitator of brainstorming sessions with small teams especially. In his opinion a good product idea is human centered and balances technology and sustainability (for planet en profit). Casper is co-organiser of Sensemakers IOT meetup and program manager for IOT Living Lab in Amsterdam. Further, he is a member of social innovators network Cool Ideas Society. Expect many ideas, focusing on the why of things and fresh perspectives.

 #energytransition #smartcities #healthyliving 

Start/ end date
- Pre-meet Wednesday night 25 May, 23:00
- Official kick-off Thursday 26 May morning 11:00

- Pre-finals for every team on Saturday 28 May 10:00
- Finals on Main stage for 3 pre-finals winners on Saturday 28 May 18:00

Award date
Saturday 28 May


Lead Partners

Utrecht Region Partners

Utrecht Region Partners, among them city and province of Utrecht and Economic Board Utrecht, mission is to help Utrecht to become the most green, healthy and smart economy of Europe.
Together we build the future. The future is green.


Welcome to the world of Mitros. We’re an expert in social housing. Our mission: suitable housing for everyone with a lower income or a special housing demand. We stand for good quality and payable houses in a healthy urban environment.

As an expert in social housing we deliver data about social housing, trends, houses, locations, prices, targets etc. We bring our experience in sustainable renovations and we facilitate the campuseros with these data and we coach the teams.

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