Velo-city 2024
18-21 June 2024

Cycle with us


Smart Pedal Pitch

Are you a start-up, a micro or a small enterprise looking to grow your business, play a key role in making cycling safer throughout innovant technologies, and win a unique chance to conduct a pilot project in Ghent?

What is the Smart Pedal Pitch?

Smart Pedal Pitch is an annual international call for the most innovative and market-ready cycle tech solutions, to shape the future of cycling in cities. It is a unique innovation competition for start-ups, micro and small enterprises to help build better cities, cycling ecosystems and technologies.


The Smart Pedal Pitch will be part of Velo-city 2024 Ghent, the annual world cycling conference. It is organised by the City of Ghent and imec, in cooperation with the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and Cycling Industries Europe (CIE).

What do I get from it?

  • Test your solution as a pilot with the City of Ghent or on its streets and prove your concept in a real environment.
  • Present your innovation on Velo-city's plenary stage to a large audience.
  • Get high visibility on the Conference and the Velo-city communication channels.
  • Win a free ticket to attend Velo-city 2024 Ghent.

What are the next steps?

Please find a guide to the evaluation process and general conditions of the Smart Pedal Pitch competition to be held at the 2024 edition of the Velo-city conference, taking in Ghent, Belgium, from 18 to 21 June 2024.


It does not claim to be exhaustive. If a situation arises that is not covered in this guide, participants (also referred to as applicants) can obtain additional information from the organising group, which is a partnership between the City of Ghent, imec, the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and Cycling Industries Europe (CIE). Contact information can be found below.

The decision of the organisers in the interpretation of this guide is final.




The Smart Pedal Pitch is a 4-step challenge:

  • Submission of online applications - from 10 April to 1 May 2024, 23:59 CET.
  • Announcement of contestants - on 20 May 2024.
  • Smart Pedal Pitch’s Semi-final - on 18 June 2024 - 14:45 CET (maximum 8 shortlisted companies will present their ideas to local partners and international audience in Ghent. The first three runners-up will participate in the Smart Pedal Pitch's Final).
  • Smart Pedal Pitch’s Final and announcement of the winner - 20 June 2024 - 16:00 CET (the three finalists will present their solutions for 5 minutes on the plenary stage at the end of Plenary Session 5: Teaming up with other sectors & Smart Pedal Pitch Finals).



Content of entries and judging criteria and pre-conditions:


  1. To be accepted into the competition the applications must be viable for deployment in the streets of Ghent or with the City of Ghent in the views of the Mobility Department of the City of Ghent.
  2. The product or service presented needs to have a technical component
  3. The product or service presented must be at least a minimum viable product or service. If you are still in an ideation phase, the smart pedal pitch isn’t the right match for you
  4. Be a micro or a small enterprise (as defined under EU’s recommendation 2003/361).



Address one of the following fields:

  1. Rider and road user safety
  2. Urban & Infrastructure solutions, including C-ITS services
  3. Cycle data analysis and management tools
  4. Any other field



Selection process of the 8 finalists maximum:

Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Relevance and scalability:

      • How is the solution relevant to the modern urban mobility in a city like Ghent? How does it improve the mobility of the citizens and visitors in the city?
      • What is the commercial potential of the solution?
      • What is its competitive advantage compared to existing and alternative solutions?
  • Innovation:

      • What is innovative about this solution?
      • Does it have a technological component?
  • Applicability:

      • How is the solution applicable in Ghent’s environment?
  • Resources, skills and experience:

    • To what extent do the company founders have the right skills and experience to achieve impact on a large scale?



Judging team:

Stage 1: Selection of 8 maximum shortlisted companies by the City of Ghent, imec, and ECF.

Stage 2: Selection of 3 finalists by the Semi-Final Jury, made of representatives from:

  • City of Ghent 
  • European Cyclists’ Federation
  • Cycling Industries Europe
  • i-start

Stage 3: Overall winner – audience vote in the Velo-city plenary



Prizes and associated conditions

Published prizes are as described in the text below. Applicants should note that the prizes have been provided by members of the organising group and its partners and are therefore subject to the terms and conditions of individual suppliers.

If any element of the prize package becomes unavailable, the organisers will use their best efforts to substitute it with benefits of a similar nature.


For the eight short-listed companies:

  • Professional pitch training by imec
  • Invitation to the pitching semi-finals in Velo-city 2024 Ghent on 18 June 2024.
  • Presentation in front of the local and international audience of Velo-city 2024 Ghent.
  • Free Standard 4-day conference ticket for the Velo-city 2024 worth €995 (one per company).


For the three finalists:

  • Presentation on the plenary stage of Velo-city to an audience of hundreds of international representatives of governments and industry on 20 June 2024.
  • Reduced membership fee for CIE


For the overall winner:

  • Test your solution as a pilot* in the streets of Ghent or with the City of Ghent and prove your concept in a real environment.
  • High visibility on the Conference and the Velo-city communication channels
  • Publication of an article featuring the winner and its project on ECF’s website.
  • Publication of an article / blogpost through channels of CIE and MegaBITS
  • Receive support from local experts and partners



The definition of a pilot is a commercial opportunity to operate an innovative product or service in Ghent, with the support of the City and its partners. It does not imply a contract with any of the Smart Pedal Pitch organisers or any obligation from the organisers to provide any financial resources. Any costs and resources for the operation of the pilot are the responsibility of the applicant. Any earnings from the pilot are the property of the applicant. The applicant is responsible for conformity with all relevant legal requirements under Belgian and EU law including employment, trading and financial laws. If the solution has an impact on the streets, a permit for taking public domain will be necessary. The Mobility Department of the City of Ghent will help to apply for the permit, but cannot guarantee its success in advance.



Additional information

Deadline for the applications:

1 May, 23:59 CET.


Compliance with GDPR (EU Regulation 2016/679):

The organisers of this competition are a partnership between City of Ghent, imec, the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and Cycling Industries Europe (CIE).

The names and company information of the applicants will be made available to these four partners who will store the information in accordance with their internal GDPR policies in order to carry out the competition.

The partners also offer to include applicant’s data in other relevant databases for the purpose of communications about their work in topics related to this competition. No data will be shared with third parties.

Applicants may opt in or out of these communications on the entry form and may contact the organisers at any time to be removed from the mailings.


Contact information:

For all other enquiries, please send an email to: [email protected]