Impact Stories

First-person stories from people impacted by Ford Fund

Behind the Scenes at Ford Fund’s First Smart Mobility Accelerator Event

COLOGNE, Germany, Sept. 22, 2023 — Ford Motor Company Fund* held its first Smart Mobility Accelerator Event last week, bringing together 10 teams of young entrepreneurs from around Europe who have developed innovative solutions to mobility challenges.

The event, held at Loughborough University in the UK, builds on the success of the Smart Mobility Challenge which launched in 2018 in collaboration with university partners TH Köln, Loughborough University, University Polytechnic Madrid (UPM) and the University of Valencia, to encourage sustainable mobility solutions with a clear community benefit, helping everyone to move freely, safely and securely.

During the course of the two-day event, the participants heard from guest speakers on topics including project validation, financial sustainability, business modelling and participated in an entrepreneurial workshop, as well as getting the chance to pitch for the opportunity to win a scale-up grant.

"The Smart Mobility Accelerator was a great chance to meet other ambitious teams and get to know more about their ideas and approaches. Meeting in person, with input and insights from experienced professionals and having time to network is very valuable for all of us," said Sven Hubbes, Co-Founder and CEO, lynes GmbH.

At the event, three teams were successful in securing scale-up funding, winning €5,000, €10,000 and €15,000 respectively to continue to increase their impact. They are:

  • Atria Move – Providing access to cheaper mobility solutions through the recycling and resale of second hand scooters, with accompanying guarantees
  • Step Art - A project that was born to promote sustainable urban mobility at an early age, making walking to school a safe and entertaining activity for all children
  • Lynes –An app that records journeys by car, public transport, train, bicycle and on foot and helps and rewards those who use and opt for mobility transportation solutions that save CO2.

Debbie Chennells, Ford Fund Manager, Ford of Europe, said: "The creativity, innovation and motivation of these young entrepreneurs is impressive. Since launching the challenge, I have always wanted the opportunity to bring these young minds together so they can benefit from peer-to-peer support and encouragement."

*As the global philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund focuses on providing access to essential services, education for the future of work and entrepreneurship opportunities for under-resourced and underrepresented communities.