Launching a Startup Program to Accelerate Urban Sustainability

The Sustainable Cities Lab will bring together startups from Switzerland and New York City in fall 2022 with the goal of making our cities more sustainable, resilient, and livable.

September 8, 2022 | Boston & New York

Cities occupy just 3% of the world’s surface but are responsible for more than three-​quarters of global energy consumption and carbon emissions. As cities continue to expand, they face challenges including tackling climate change, protecting the environment, solving traffic congestion, and building resilient urban infrastructure. Maintaining economic growth, while creating sustainable and livable cities for all, is one of today’s biggest global issues.

When it comes to creating the cities of tomorrow – a challenge captured in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 11, “Sustainable Cities and Communities” – Switzerland and New York City are uniquely positioned to make a difference. Switzerland has been consistently ranked as one of the most innovative economies in the world with Swiss universities at the forefront of research in climate change and environmental pollution. As a result, Switzerland’s urban tech cluster is very robust, boasting a strong track record in a variety of fields from sustainable construction to recycling and waste management. Similarly, New York City has firmly established itself among the community of global urban leaders in sustainability over the past years and is today seeing a push towards decarbonizing its building stock. Climate-focused innovation is supported by local government agencies, accelerators, and the private sector, making it a leading hub for urban tech innovation.

The Sustainable Cities Lab

Recognizing the critical role of innovation in making cities more sustainable, resilient, and livable, Swissnex and Impact Hub New York Metropolitan Area are launching the Sustainable Cities Lab, a new startup program bringing together a selected group of entrepreneurs from Switzerland and New York City. The main objectives of the program are the following:



The Sustainable Cities Lab is a two-part program starting off with a two-week virtual bootcamp for the Swiss participants, followed by a one-week, in-person program for both Swiss and US entrepreneurs in New York City. The virtual bootcamp, which is part of Swissnex’s broader startup support offering in partnership with Swiss innovation agency Innosuisse, gives Swiss startups an opportunity to better understand the fundamentals of the US market and make initial connections virtually.

During the subsequent one-week program, Swissnex will host a total of ten Swiss and US startups in New York City. The participants will get the opportunity to connect with and get feedback from key experts, participate in peer-learning sessions, and pitch in front of leading urban tech investors and accelerators, including as part of the UrbanTech Summit organized by CIV:LAB in partnership with Cornell Tech.



If you are interested in learning more about the Sustainable Cities Lab, please contact Joséphine Erni, Innovation Lead, Swissnex in New York.