The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks agency today launched a competition called the City Challenge.

Citizens’ ideas will tackle challenges in one of these five areas – integrated transport, energy reduction, generation and efficiency, waste management, digital public services and smart homes. Participants have to show how Internet of Things, ICT and environmentally-friendly technologies can be used.

Students from local secondary schools and citizens above 18 years can take part by submitting a proposal online by 29 February. At a later stage, they will have to build and demonstrate a prototype of their solution.

Even six year olds can give their ideas, with a separate category for primary school students. They can draw a picture of how they imagine the future of their city, or describe in an essay a smart city invention they wish to see in the future.

“Interested individuals do not have to be a skilled professional to enter the competition because we will provide training for the necessary practical skills. All they need is a great idea and the desire to make a positive impact on Hong Kong,” said Allen Ma, CEO of HKSTP.

The government will train shortlisted participants through workshops on product design, app development, maker skills and presentations.

The winning prototypes and ideas will be announced on 25 June. They will get prizes worth a total of HK$400,000. They could also be offered internships by companies in the city’s science park or be admitted into the agency’s startup incubation programme.