2016 • latin america and the caribbean

• Win Funds for your City •

Compete to win millions of dollars to bring your city’s bold city idea to life.

One city wins a grand prize of 5 million U.S. dollars. Four cities win prizes of 1 million U.S. dollars to bring their ideas to life.


• Competition Process •
  • 20 January 2016

    Competition Launch!


    Latin American and Caribbean cities with populations of 100,000 or more are invited to apply to the Mayors Challenge.

  • January 2016 – March 2016

    Start the Process


    Cities define the serious problem they want to solve and begin surfacing bold ideas. These ideas should solve urban challenges and improve city life.

  • 15 March 2016

    Reserve A Spot


    Cities enter the competition by signing up on the website. All cities must sign up by the deadline to compete.

  • 15 April 2015

    Submit Your Application


    Cities submit their initial ideas through an application process, which includes 23 questions.

  • June 2016

    Finalists Announced


    Approximately 20 cities with the best ideas will be invited to move forward in the competition and receive support to move their ideas from good ideas to great ideas.

  • July 2016

    Ideas Camp


    Teams from each of the finalist cities participate in a two-day workshop with global experts and peer practitioners to strengthen and stretch their original ideas.

  • September 2016

    Resubmit Your Proposal


    Finalists resubmit their refined applications to compete for one of the five prizes.

  • Fall 2016

    5 Winners Announced!


    The grand prize winner receives 5 million U.S. dollars and four cities each receive 1 million U.S. dollars

  • Implementation Support


    Winning cities participate in a robust program of support, receiving advice from peers and experts to help position their projects for long-term success.

Applications are evaluated
across four distinct criterion

• Selection Criterion •
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    The Mayors Challenge is an innovation competition. Ideas should be bold and creative, and should include a fresh approach to solving a city’s problem.

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    In order to be successful in the competition, ideas should address a serious problem, improve customer service for residents or businesses, create significant government efficiencies, and/or increase public engagement. Ideas must do one of these four things very well, but the best ideas will likely create impact in more than one area.

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    Though implementation plans may not be fully developed, cities must demonstrate their commitment and a viable path to bringing their ideas to life. This includes garnering support from key stakeholders.

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    Winning ideas will not only be beneficial to the city generating the idea, but will spread to – and succeed in – other cities. We are looking for approaches that address problems other cities face. Other cities should be able to import and adapt the best ideas to benefit their own citizens.



• 2016 Selection Committee •

An independent selection committee has been assembled to help Bloomberg Philanthropies select the twenty finalists, and ultimately, the five winners.

The committee is comprised of innovation and urban policy experts from across the Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • committee member

    El Salvador

    Carolina Avalos Burgos

    Visiting Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, Masters at Vanderbilt U. and KU Leuven

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    Ilona Szabó de Carvalho

    Founder and Executive Director of the Igarapé Institute

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    Jose Castillo

    Principal at arquitectura 911sc

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    Marta Cruz

    Founding Partner and COO of NXTP Labs

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    United States

    Manny Diaz

    Former Mayor of the City of Miami

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    Catalina Escobar

    Founder and President of the Juan Felipe Gómez Escobar Foundation

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    Sascha Haselmayer

    Co-founder and CEO of Citymart

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    Mauricio Hernández-Ávila

    Director General of the National Public Health Institute and Dean of the School of Public Health of Mexico

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    Ellis J. Juan

    General Coordinator of the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative at the Inter-American Development Bank

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    Fuad Khoury

    Former Comptroller General of the Republic of Peru

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    Juan Felipe López Egaña

    Executive Director of Laboratorio de Gobierno (LabGob) Chile

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    United States

    Beth Simone Noveck

    The Jerry M. Hultin Global Network Professor at New York University and director of the University’s The Governance Lab

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    Tiago Peixoto

    Team Lead for the Digital Engagement Unit at the World Bank



Finalist support makes each idea stronger, better and ready for implementation.

Finalist cities are paired with innovation coaches, given access to global innovation experts and practitioners, and exposed to exciting innovation methods to improve their ideas. The collaborative process is designed to make each city’s idea stronger, better, and ready for implementation.

Ideas Camp

One of the hallmarks of the Mayors Challenge is Ideas Camp. Finalist cities come together for two days to stretch and strengthen their ideas, working closely with global experts and peers from other cities to challenge their assumptions and increase their idea’s impact. As Michael Bloomberg says, “At Ideas Camp, the competitors become collaborators—and there’s great power in that.”

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    Working sessions provide the opportunity for participants to share their ideas, ask questions, and receive feedback.

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    Global Experts

    Bloomberg Philanthropies has built an international network of urban innovation experts and practitioners to share best practices and advice.

Have additional questions? Read our Frequently Asked Questions.


Competition rules and eligibility

  1. Your city must be located in Latin America or the Caribbean. Click here to ensure your city meets the eligibility criteria.

  2. Your city must have at least 100,000 residents within the administrative division of the city.

  3. Applications must be submitted by a city hall or city department (or the equivalent local central administrative body) under the direction of an authorized executive or body (e.g., mayor, deputy mayor, chief executive, city manager, or equivalent).

  4. Each city may submit only ONE application. While the city may involve partners from other governmental entities in generating the idea, the submitted application must come from a single city government. The individual(s) completing the application online must be designated by the city’s authorized executive or executive body.

  5. In order to compete, every city must reserve their spot through the website by 15 March 2016.

  6. You must submit your application online by 15 April 2016. You can submit the application at any time that day, as long as it is still the 15th of April in your city. All applications must be submitted through this website. Applications can be submitted in Spanish, Portuguese, or English.

  7. Bloomberg Philanthropies may publicize the list of cities that participate in any stage of the competition.

  8. Once a city has submitted an application, Bloomberg Philanthropies may make aspects of that application public. (This mainly applies to cities that are selected to advance as finalists or winners.)

  9. The prize money cities receive is intended for use in implementing winning ideas, in accordance with applicable laws. Funds will be distributed over a two or three-year period, depending on the particulars of the project. Any excess funds must be used to help build winning cities' innovation capacity.

  10. Each entrant must agree to any and all legal terms and conditions of the Mayors Challenge.

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