The Augment the City Challenge Fund, led by Belfast City Council’s City Innovation Office and funded by the Belfast Region City Deal, will open in April 2024 to support local SMEs to explore the future role of immersive technologies in visitor experiences.

Businesses interested in applying to the challenge competition can register for an online information session taking place on 18 April 2024.

Register for online information session – 18 April
View challenge competition information

Belfast City Council is designing a new tourism landmark – Belfast Stories – which will open in Belfast city centre in 2029.

Belfast Stories will reflect the unique spirit of Belfast through a variety of media and a mix of immersive experiences. Celebrating Belfast’s people and places, this new attraction will enable visitors and local people to connect with the city and one another through stories, screen, and social spaces.

We are looking for creative technology innovators to develop concepts and proposals which will use innovative immersive and digital technologies to gather, curate and present stories about Belfast and its people.

The full challenge brief will be published on 15 April 2024. The budget available is £575,000 shared across 3 phases, with a max of 10 organisations in phase 1. A maximum of 3 organisations will be selected for all three phases, and each will receive up to £145,000.

Successful applicants will benefit from:

  • funding to support innovation and R&D to develop ideas, proofs of concepts and prototypes in immersive technologies,
  • access to a venue, with state-of-the-art advanced wireless digital connectivity, to develop, trial and showcase their innovative ideas and prototypes,
  • user testing and feedback from visitors to help improve and enhance their product, and
  • a better understanding of the future needs of those creating new visitor attractions in the city and elsewhere.

The funding competition will be delivered across three phases:

  • Phase 1: Up to ten companies will be offered up to £10,000 each to develop their concepts. This will include an in-person presentational pitch in Belfast at the end of phase 1.
  • Phase 2: Up to five companies will be offered up to £35,000 to further develop their proposals.
  • Phase 3: Up to three companies will be offered up to £100,000 each to develop prototypes.

Key dates – Phase 1

  • 15 April 2024: Challenge Fund opens for applications
  • 18 April 2024: Information session for local businesses interested in applying to the fund
  • Mid-May 2024: Closing date for applications
  • End of May 2024: Successful applicants announced
  • June 2024: Phase 1 commences – concept development

Click here for full details.