Business Plan Contest

The Charter Cities Institute is pleased to announce our Charter Cities Business Plan Contest. First-place prize is $25,000 and second place receives $10,000.



The Charter Cities Institute is pleased to announce our Charter Cities Business Plan Contest. First-place prize is $25,000 and second place receives $10,000.

Urbanization, poverty, and poor governance are among the greatest challenges facing the 21st century. Charter cities—new cities with a special jurisdiction that grant them a blank city in commercial law with which they can adopt commercial best practices—address all three. Taking advantage of the rapidly growing urban population, charter cities create opportunities for residents by implementing quality governance to sow the seeds for long term economic development.

Charter cities are both business projects and political projects. To be successful, charter cities must be profitable, but they also require legislation to create the special jurisdiction that allows for substantive improvement in the business environment.

The purpose of this contest is to identify capable teams to build charter cities. We will provide ample oversight and guidance to the winning teams and introduce them to investors, policy experts, and other individuals or groups necessary for their success. We expect the winning team(s) to form a company to build a charter city.

Applications should include:

• Business plan detailing the team’s strategy to build a charter city• Deck which provides a high-level overview of the business plan• 5-minute video to introduce the founders and explain the business plan

Core Business plans should answer the following questions:

• Team: Who are you? Why do you want to build a charter city? Why are you capable of building a charter city? Important considerations include the team’s relationships to the host country and team experience.• Host country: Why is the host country a good place to build a charter city? What are the relevant political considerations? How stable is the political system? What is the urbanization rate?• Location: Where will the charter city be built? Why is it a good location?Land acquisition strategy: How will the team acquire land?• Anchor tenant: What is the ideal anchor tenant? How will you attract them? What is your competitive advantage?• Investments: Which investors will you raise money from? When and how?• Financial: How is the charter city profitable? Included project financials.• Legislation: What are your relationships with the host country? Do you have access to government officials necessary to pass charter cities legislation?• Governance: What is the governance structure for the charter city? What are the constraints to success in the host country? How will those constraints be changed in the charter city?

The initial submissions are due August 15th at 12pm EST. Please send your submissions and any questions to Mark at Before selecting winners, we will conduct interviews with the top applicants. The first-place winner will receive $25,000 (USD) and second-place will receive $10,000 (USD). The winners will be announced at the Inaugural Charter Cities Conference in Johannesburg on October 2nd and 3rd, for which the Center will cover the costs of airfare and accommodations.

We will host a Zoom webinar on June 4th at 10am EST and June 11th 10am EST to answer your questions. Please use this link to access the webinar.

Please contact Executive Director Mark Lutter at Please follow our Twitter page or Facebook page to be aware of any updates to the contest.

Recommended Reading: New Cities, Special Economic Zones, Charter Cities One-Pager, Charter Cities In A Box,  80000 Hours podcast.