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Sofia’s Digital Cities Challenge Project Moves to a Strategy Development Stage

 

Sofia Investment Agency, on behalf of the city of Sofia, continues its participation in the Digital Cities Project of the European Commission and is now moving into the strategy development and consolidation phase of the Project.
The Digital Cities Challenge is an initiative of the European Commission aiming to achieve sustainable economic growth in Sofia through the integration of advanced technologies.

 

 

The aim of the Challenge is to offer high level advisory services to 15 European cities and help them build up innovation ecosystems through the deployment of advanced technologies.

Due to the high interest showcased by the 92 applications from cities all over Europe, the initiative has increased its outreach to include 21 Fellow cities that joined on their own resources and 6 Mentor cities that inspire and share best practices with the group. The result is a network of over 40 cities that participate in the initiative.

 

After an online questionnaire, dozens of face-to-face interviews and three workshops with key local stakeholders from the government, academia, the IT sector, utility companies and the start-up community, our team of experts has now concluded the Assessment report for the city of Sofia. Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

 

 

Stakeholders of Sofia consider the ICT ecosystem of the city:

  • – an advanced business ecosystem composed of companies having high level of technological competence and expertise to offer any product that is demanded
  • – a strongly export-oriented sector that has not contributed much to the modernisation of the local economy and city life. Moreover, the further growth of the ICT ecosystem itself depends on the creation of local markets for ICT services, enabling the ICT companies to develop a local base for product experimentation and development

 

Based on the above findings, the Digital Transformation Strategy for the city of Sofia focuses on smart growth sustained by digital systems in both the ecosystems of ICT companies located in Sofia (supply side) and other industry and service sectors that absorb digital services (demand side).

 

 

The strategy was drafted in collaboration with local stakeholders from private and public organisations of Sofia. The stakeholders selected 16 operational objectives for the digital transformation strategy of Sofia. Operational objectives reflect the means through which the city of Sofia will achieve its ambition statements.

What is next: Identification of preliminary investment priorities

This November we will be working on the identification of preliminary investment priorities and the selection of several pilot projects. We invite stakeholders from the sectors of IT, transport, utilities and government to take part in specialized workgroups and share their ideas of possible projects that will support the city of Sofia in its digitalization trajectory.

 

Let us know if you would like to take part in the next stage. If you want to learn more about the project, please contact Nadia Soultanova, Head of ‘Investment and Business Development’ at Sofia Investment Agency by email: nadia.soultanova@investsofia.com.

A big thank you to the growing network of local stakeholders and EU cities.

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