Charter Cities Business Plan Contest: Announcing the Winners

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The Charter Cities Institute is pleased to announce the winners of our Charter Cities Business Plan Contest. After application reviews and interviews, 1st prize and $25,000 is awarded to Enyimba Economic City (Nigeria), 2nd prize, $10,000, to Blackstone Charter Cities (Australia), and 3rd prize to Novgorod New Hanse Town (Russia). To meet these teams and more, register for our upcoming Charter Cities Conference, held on March 17-18, 2020 at the Hilton Sandton in Johannesburg, South Africa.

We launched the Charter Cities Business Plan Contest to identify teams around the world with forward-looking, viable plans for a charter city. The winners each exceeded our expectations regarding the location, target industries, and growth potential of their respective charter cities. The Charter Cities Institute looks forward to working with all three teams as they execute their plans.


Enyimba Economic City

Enyimba Economic City is a 9464-hectare greenfield Charter City. It will connect the nine states of South-East and South-South Nigeria, with a population of about 60 million, turning the area into a global business hub. The city will leverage existing and improved infrastructure, including high-grade roads, rail, airports, inland ports, natural gas pipelines, a 540 MW powerplant, water treatment, and waste management. Enyimba Economic City will feature a state-of-the-art administrative structure to attract residents and businesses.

Enyimba’s core industry will be manufacturing, with ancillary drivers including logistics, medical, entertainment, education, commerce, lifestyle residency, and aviation. Enyimba Economic City is a free-trade zone, with independent business registry, labor law, banking regulations, and more. Enyimba Economic City is privately-led, but stakeholders include the local community, the state government (Abia State), and the Federal government. Advisors and financiers include the African Export-Import Bank, African Development Bank, and the International Finance Corporation.



Blackstone Charter Cities has identified an opportunity to develop a new Charter City given the current geopolitical shifts in South East Asia.  The new city will be anchored by a port, developed as a physical collaboration point for like-minded allies within the region to locate, share, and assist in the development of key industries plus research and development, including space and defence industries. It will also foster closer social, economic and political ties between nations. Finally, the charter city will adopt the latest in new infrastructure technology, including the latest advances in transportation and renewable energy.  The charter city will be aim to achieve the highest Green Star City Rating.



Novgorod New Hanse Town aims to revive the Hanseatic tradition of Novgorod and reestablish it as connecting node for trade and commerce between Europe, Russia and Asia. The mission of project leaders Kamil Galeev and Sebastian Reil is to build the city with the best business environment, best logistics infrastructure, best quality of life, and best digital governance system in Russia.

Novgorod’s mission is to build the city with the best business environment, best logistics infrastructure, best quality of life and digital governance system in Russia. 

Russia currently has a peculiar situation: it has an abundance of high-quality young professionals, especially in the IT-sector, but the employment and residential options for them are limited. As a rule, to pursue opportunity young professionals either go to Moscow or to St Petersburg. Meanwhile, there is a clear demand for alternatives to these congested and expensive urban centers, which manifests itself in the many IT village communities sprouting up in Russian forests. 

Novgorod New Hanse Town provides a middle ground between these two poles - building a European-style town within 45 minutes from St. Petersburg and 3 hours from Moscow with a business-friendly governance system that will make it a beacon for capital and entrepreneurs. Northern European style residential areas in remanence of the Hanseatic League’s tradition will provide a high quality of life. 

The town occupies a perfect logistical spot, being located on the nexus of the Moscow-St Petersburg railway, M10 and M11 federal motorways and the navigable Volkhov River which offers great logistical opportunities at the intersection of three modes of transportation: road, rail and water. The project start is scheduled for next year. To stay updated about the project subscribe to our newsletter here.