Ford has placed a huge focus on the future of mobility in recent years, which will also play a big part in its revitalized Michigan Central Station campus, once that project is complete. The automaker has also hosted a mobility challenge multiple times over the past few years, including “Go Detroit” – which awards prizes to teams with promising ideas in that particular area – the HBC-You Mobility Challenge for historically African-American colleges and universities, and the Ford Fund Smart Mobility Challenge. Now, Ford has revealed a new mobility challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, too.
Starting in 2023, Ford will partner with the Greater Memphis Chamber, StartCo, and other partners to engage local entrepreneurs in pilot projects designed to increase access to sustainable, electrified mobility options and connect urban and rural communities through mobility in the region. The program is similar to Ford Fund’s recently announced Accelerator Program with Heartland Forward in West Tennessee, where the automaker is currently constructing its brand new BlueOval City complex that will build both EVs and EV batteries.
The new mobility challenge is the ninth launched by Ford since 2018, which have collectively distributed over $1 million in grant money across 15 mobility pilots after receiving approximately 1,000 mobility entrepreneur proposals in Detroit, Indianapolis, Austin, Miami-Dade County, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Grand Rapids, and Mexico City. This latest, Memphis-based program will add another $50,000-$150,000 to that total when it launches at some point next year.
“Ford’s commitment to Greater Memphis and West Tennessee will accelerate our mission to make this region not just the global logistics leader but the global mobility leader,” Greater Memphis Chamber President & CEO Ted Townsend. “Ford’s emphasis on integrating local communities into the mobility innovation process – particularly through the identification, design, and piloting of mobility solutions proposed by local entrepreneurs – will be a catalyst for progress as we recruit capital and talent to this region.”