AcceliCITY Competition Rules

(as of April 1, 2023)

These rules (“Rules”) govern each person, team and/or entity (Participant, Participant Team or Participants) that enters Leading Cities’ AcceliCITY Competition.

By entering the competition, you, as an individual or as a team, are indicating your and your organization’s agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions during and after the competition you are entering, and throughout your association with Leading Cities. For purposes of these Rules, all Participants, regardless of whether you become a “Semi-Finalist,” “Finalist,” or a competition “Winner,” shall be referred to as an AcceliCITY “Participant,” and collectively as AcceliCITY “Participants.”


To be eligible to enter the AcceliCITY competition you must fulfill the eligibility criteria set out in these Rules and any such specifications determined by the application track you choose, if applicable.

Generally, every Leading Cities Participant or Participant Team must be at the prototype, minimum viable product, or pilot-ready stage of development.

Each Leading Cities Participant is only allowed to submit 1 application per Leading Cities competition cycle. Past and current Leading Cities mentors and judges are eligible to participate in a competition. However, they will not be able to participate in Judging and Mentoring activities during any Leading Cities competition cycle in which they are already participating as a participant in the competition.

Ineligible to Participate

The following individuals and entities are NOT eligible to participate in a Leading Cities Competition:

Any person who has been disqualified for not following the Rules, and/or not abiding by the terms and conditions of AcceliCITY and Leading Cities, is disqualified from all future competitions.

Any person that is prohibited from participating because of a contractual or other legal obligation to another person or entity (such as an employer) is ineligible to enter.

Any person or entity that has a conflict of interest is ineligible to enter the competition. A conflict of interest is a situation in which an individual or an entity is directly related to Leading Cities Inc., by means such as marriage, kinship, cohabitation, employment or business partnership.

Methods of Entry

To enter the AcceliCITY competition, an application must first be submitted by an authorized member of an eligible startup using an online application form that can be found on the AcceliCITY website ( Selected applicants may be invited to a short phone/skype interview, if necessary. There is no special treatment for any applicants, every participant must complete an application and be unbiasedly evaluated by the judges. The application process is rolling, meaning that applications will be evaluated as they are submitted until all spots are filled—this method of selection encourages early submission of applications and may provide inherent advantages to those early applicants. Though a final deadline is set in advance, all available slots may be filled before that deadline is reached and all applications received after the final slot is filled will not be eligible for consideration at that time.

Upon submission of an application, each team member included on said application will be considered a registered member of the Participant Team and will, by inclusion of their name on the application, have agreed to abide by these Rules and the Leading Cities' terms and conditions. At the time of application submission, you will also acknowledge the opportunity to have reviewed Leading Cities’ Privacy Policy. Incomplete entries may not be considered by the Judges. Team members noted on the application may be allowed to accompany an applicant during the webinar program, however, members who are not listed on the application will not be included in AcceliCITY programming. The boot camp program will be available only to selected Participants selected as Finalists, one person per team.

All applicants are given a choice between applying for AcceliCITY West or AcceliCITY East divisions. The main difference between those two divisions comes down to scheduling online curriculum during the semi-finals. AcceliCITY West curriculum will be typically hosted on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10:00 am and 11:00 am ET, while AcceliCITY East will typically be hosted on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm Australia Time. Each division will offer a $25,000 award. All finalists, regardless of division, compete for the grand prize of $100,000 dollars. Smart challenge track awards are also independent of the choice of division and winner(s) will receive a the prize awarded by the host. Details of the prize will be finalized between host and winner(s).


All entries, work, and submissions of AcceliCITY Participants must be original to the participant/team, or, if not original, used with written authorization of others whose contributions must be identified in the submission. Applications submitted after the application deadlines will not be considered.


The competition is designed to find high-impact, high-potential, smart city-focused ventures. The overall goal of the program is to help AcceliCITY Participants launch and/or grow a successful Smart City startup. All Judging is intended to identify the highest-potential, highest-impact startups.

Leading Cities enlists the services of expert volunteer “Judges” who are independent and objective, with no conflicts of interest (meaning they are not shareholders or stakeholders in any entities competing with Applicant’s company or directly benefiting from its activities). These Judges review applications and make determinations on each Participant Team’s potential for long-term success based on the Judge’s experience and the quality of the Participant Team’s applications and subsequent submissions and participation during the competition.

In the Application Review stage, Judges base their decisions on whether a team advances as Semi-Finalist to the web-based curriculum stage of AcceliCITY on the Participant Team’s submitted written application. In subsequent rounds of judging (“Round Two, and so forth), a distinct group of Judges reviews each Semi-Finalist through a series of opportunities, including application, an interview, participation in the web-based curriculum, and in-person presentation(s).

All decisions of the Judges are at their sole discretion and are final. Those participants who compete in a specific application track will be reviewed by Judges for their expert insights and feedback, however, final judgment will be determined by the entities hosting the application track at their sole discretion and their decision(s) are also final.

Phases of Competition and Programs

Note the following phases.


Leading Cities Applications Open: Applications are available for completion on the Leading Cities website.

Application Review: Reviewing ends when the slots for Semi-Finalists are filled or June, whichever comes first. Semi-Finalists and those not selected as a Semi-Finalist are notified and announcements of Semi-Finalists are made via Leading Cities social media and other potential media outlets. After participants advance to the Semi-Finalist stage of the competition, they will be invited to provide additional information and confirm their participation.

Round Two Judging: Judges review applications, interview results, and program participation to determine those selected as Finalists. Finalists (and Semi-Finalists who do not become Finalists) are notified and announcements are made via Social Media and other potential media outlets.

Boot Camp: Finalist participants attend the web-based Smart City Boot Camp. The Smart City Boot Camp consists of workshops tailored to the needs and interests of the participants and culminates with a final pitch day to determine the Grand Prize winner.

Pre-Final and Final Judging: Depending on the application track, there may be both a pre-final and a final round of judging. These rounds require the submission of a company overview and may require additional in-person presentations. Winners of Smart Challenge Track(s) will be selected by the host of the specific track.

Leading Cities Awards: Announcement of winners and celebration of all participating Finalists.


All selected participants are expected to fully engage with the program curriculum and activities, including having a company representative logged into LaunchPad 11 (active or inactive) during normal business hours. A company's presence in LaunchPad 11 is among the valuable resources this program provides, but opportunities are afforded to those who are present.



Finalists of AcceliCITY receive free resources including mentorship, strategic advice, and networking opportunities to further their businesses.

Smart CityTrack Winners receive $100,000 provided by QBE to cover expenses for a pilot project in a city. The winner(s) will work with Leading Cities to develop an AcceliGOV competition in which cities from around the world are invited to compete for this pre-paid pilot project sponsored by QBE.

In addition to the $100,000 grand prize, general track participants are eligible for one of two $25,000 people’s choice awards, with each award being offered to one of the divisions. 

Legal Action

Leading Cities shall be held harmless in the event of any legal action. By entering the competition and otherwise being an AcceliCITY Participant, each AcceliCITY Participant agrees to:

(a) comply with and be bound by these Rules and the decisions of Judges, which are binding and final;

(b) release and hold harmless Leading Cities, together with its affiliates and all of their respective past and present officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives, as well as the Judges, Mentors, Experts, Partners and other volunteers involved with the competition, and all of their respective past and present officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liability, including (without limitation), any third party claims of intellectual property infringement, breach of confidentiality or trade secret claim(s) brought against the Released Parties asserting that the content, work product or activities of an AcceliCITY Participant infringe(s) the intellectual property, contract, trade secret or other rights of any other person (including any other AcceliCITY Participant), as well as claims asserting damages of any kind to persons arising out of the competition(s), the AcceliCITY Participant’s participation in the competition and any Leading Cities program; and

(c) indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Released Parties from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) arising out of or relating to the participant’s participation in any competition or Leading Cities program and/or participant’s acceptance, use or misuse of any award or cash prize.

Other Agreements

Leading Cities takes no responsibility for agreements between any AcceliCITY Participant with any other Participant or any Leading Cities Expert or any other third parties. A Leading Cities Expert is either or any of a Leading Cities “Mentor,” “Judge” or “Speaker,” all of whom provide time to Leading Cities on a volunteer basis.

Intellectual Property & Confidentiality

Leading Cities Participants should not and expressly agree not to use or share any confidential or proprietary information that belongs to any other person or entity. Likewise, any confidential or proprietary information shared among or between AcceliCITY Participants during the competition or during any Leading Cities program must be maintained by each AcceliCITY Participant as confidential and proprietary.

AcceliCITY Participants are not authorized to use any intellectual property of Leading Cities or any other Leading Cities Participant, including but not limited to any trademark, copyrightable content, trade secret, technology, patentable subject matter or other proprietary content without the express authorization of the owner of such rights


Each AcceliCITY Participant agrees that Leading Cities may use his or her name, image, photograph, biography, and each Participant Team’s “story,” video, company overview, biography, and any other materials used in connection with the promotion of Leading Cities and its activities in perpetuity, in all manner of media, without further authorization from or compensation to the AcceliCITY Participant. All Leading Cities Participants hereby waive and release Leading Cities, its affiliates and sponsors, and each of their successors and assigns from all claims and causes of action arising out of the uses set forth in this paragraph.


Leading Cities protects personal information collected in connection with its competitions and your participation. (See privacy policy on http://Leading


Compliance with Rules and Code of Conduct

Any violation of these Rules will disqualify a Leading Cities Participant, including the Participant Team of any violator of these Rules, from the competition, and result in forfeiture of any awards awarded to the Participant Team, including but not limited to the reimbursement of any travel grants awarded to the disqualified Participant or Participant Team. Furthermore, Leading Cities reserves the right to remove or disqualify any AcceliCITY Participant from competition and from all Leading Cities programs at any time, at its sole discretion, and for any reason. Without limiting the foregoing, any AcceliCITY Participant who engages in immoral, illicit, or illegal conduct, including activities that violate these Rules, including but not limited to lying, cheating, engaging in any criminal activity (whether or not related to the competition) and/or any activity that, in the sole discretion of Leading Cities, may adversely affect the competition, other AcceliCITY Participants, the image of Leading Cities, or any of our affiliates or sponsors, automatically becomes ineligible for the competition, forfeits any awards, and shall be disqualified from participating in the current and any other Leading Cities competitions or programs in the future.



The competition is subject to applicable laws, including, for U.S. programs and competitions, federal, state, and local laws, and for programs outside the U.S., the laws of the country in which the programs take place.


Leading Cities may update these rules throughout the competition and participants will be responsible for compliance with all changes. All updates will be posted on the Leading Cities website and Leading Cities Participants that are subject to Rules changes will be alerted to changes by email at the contact details provided when they registered. These Rules incorporate by reference any material posted on the Leading Cities website concerning the competition(s). However, in the case of conflict between these Rules and other information on the website, these Rules shall control.