The Smart Belfast Collaborative Challenge will provide support for groups of SMEs that want to work together to scope innovative opportunities to address significant urban challenges.

This is an exciting opportunity for those businesses seeking to innovate in the rapidly developing Smart City market which most commentators agree is likely to offer substantial business development potential over the coming decade.

Invest NI and Belfast City Council are supporting this programme with the understanding that the city needs to encourage greater innovation, particularly in the exploitation of data science and smart technologies if it is to successfully deliver its new long term city strategy, ‘The Belfast Agenda 2035’.


To be eligible for funding each group must consist of a minimum of four Northern Ireland companies, one of which must be an Invest Northern Ireland customer and be willing to act as Lead Company. Other group members may include local, national or international stakeholders, including those from the academic and public sectors, as appropriate. The funding is to be used to engage the services of an independent facilitator to work with the group to address the challenges identified and scope out potential opportunities.


100% funding up to £25,000 will be available for each of up to eight networks seeking to explore innovation in these five challenge areas:

  • urban transport
  • visitor experience
  • circular economy
  • active living
  • management of public estate


Successful collaborations can bring significant benefits to each of the participants. These include:

  • enhancing existing capabilities and knowledge
  • acquiring the know how to be innovative
  • entry to new export markets
  • developing niche value-added products
  • expanding services or product offerings
  • exploiting cross-sectoral technology and best practice
  • developing hi-tech knowledge driven businesses
  • contributing to Northern Ireland’s economic performance

Additional Information

A separate briefing pack containing further information relating to the Belfast Agenda, Belfast City Council’s Smart Belfast Framework and the thematic challenge areas is available to download here.

If you require any further clarification on the application process please contact a member of the Invest NI Collaborative Growth Programme team on 028 9069 8342. For queries related to Belfast City Council’s Smart Belfast Framework or the specific challenge areas please contact the Smart Belfast team at

Application form

Download the application form for the Smart Belfast Collaborative Challenge (DOC).

The closing date for completed applications is 06 November 2017