Memphis, Tennessee (Thursday, March 21, 2024) — Memphis residents are looking for safer, more reliable transportation options to get to work, healthcare, food and education; Memphis Challenge looks to entrepreneurs to address these opportunities and pilot new mobility solutions



Ford Motor Company, the Greater Memphis Chamber, Start Co. and Christian Brothers University today released the Memphis Challenge Explore Report, highlighting four distinct opportunities for community-centered mobility innovation in the Memphis area. Led by Ford’s Urbanite program, with support from 12 local collaborators, the Memphis Challenge will use these four opportunity areas to solicit proposals from local and national entrepreneurs to pilot mobility solutions in late 2024. Memphis Challenge winners are expected to receive up to $150,000 in pilot grant funding through the Challenge program, with an additional $450,000 available to Challenge finalists in seed funding, technical support, legal assistance, and startup business resources.


Rooted in resident and community engagement, the Explore Report’s research and analysis highlights portions of the transportation journey that need more attention:


  • Creating safe access to transportation- getting residents to their preferred mode of transportation is a key concern with many residents feeling exposed and at risk, with some choosing to avoid the risk all together.
  • Safety through the entire mobility journey- residents are looking for solutions to better control all aspects of their mobility experiences – especially safety – because of a general distrust of riders and drivers in Memphis.
  • Personal vehicles = reliable, safe mobility in Memphis- residents acknowledge that car ownership is difficult, many view it as the only option; thus, the loaning of vehicles to friends and family members puts further strain on households especially with the distrust of other modes of transportation
  • Understanding the total cost of car and mobility ownership- despite the recognized importance of personal vehicle ownership, many residents are not fully considering the total cost of ownership of their vehicle, leaving many to find more affordable ‘partial solutions.’


These Explore Report findings complement other transit and mobility initiatives throughout the greater Memphis area; however, it does highlight some recent trends that tie into the public safety concerns Memphis has been experiencing. The Ford Urbanite Memphis Challenge is a spark to provide support, spread awareness and rally additional resources to an area that is ripe for innovation in, and around, Memphis.


To participate, the Memphis Challenge team is looking for the following:


  • Startups bringing solutions that address aforementioned opportunity areas
  • Non-startups that address aforementioned opportunity areas; and this includes small businesses, faculty and student teams, community projects, and young entrepreneurs who may not be incorporated
  • New partners and opportunities that help to expand the Memphis Challenge this year and years to come.


Apply to be a Memphis Challenge Finalist at Apply to Urbanite Challenge Memphis | F6S by Friday, May 10, 2024. For more information:


“Memphis is making significant infrastructure investments that can set the stage for more innovation and entrepreneurship as it relates to mobility, transportation, and smart cities; Ford Urbanite is a perfect example of how entrepreneurial activity if scaled is a perfect complement to these infrastructure investments for building a city of tomorrow.” Andre Fowlkes of Start Co.


“Memphis is the 10th Challenge we’ve launched since 2018 and it is unique in the fact that it is intertwined to so many other mobility, sustainability, and community-based initiatives across Memphis and West Tennessee. If entrepreneurs are looking to design, test and deploy their solutions in an environment where local public, private and non-profit stakeholders are eager to provide support, Memphis is it.” Jack Gray, Urbanite Co-Founder & Program Lead.


“In Memphis, entrepreneurs can plant a seed of innovation, watch it grow, and witness its immediate impact on the lives of our citizens,” said Ted Townsend, President & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “I invite mobility innovators to join Memphis’s rich entrepreneurial ecosystem through Ford Urbanite and contribute to the city’s efforts in providing sustainable solutions for mobility challenges.”


About the Greater Memphis Chamber: The Greater Memphis Chamber is a nonprofit membership organization that is privately funded by the business community. As the “Voice for Business,” the Chamber serves as the region’s primary economic development and workforce development organization and an advocate for a pro-growth business environment. One of the region’s oldest institutions, dating back to 1838, the Chamber builds a greater and more prosperous Memphis for all by recruiting and retaining jobs, investment, and companies, developing the workforce, and supporting and advocating for a thriving business community. For more information about the Chamber, visit and Also, follow the Chamber on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, and sign up for its weekly newsletter, the Memphis Fourword.