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Sofia Enters the Final Stage of the Digital Cities Challenge Initiative

The last Academy Seminar of the Digital Cities Challenge project took place on January 29-30 in Algeciras, Spain. Sofia along with forty other European cities participating in the initiative by the European Commission got together to share their strategies and key actions towards digital transformation to be implemented in the next few years.

Sofia worked on the development of its implementation roadmap and the fine-tuning of its digitalization strategy. We are grateful for all the suggestions and ideas we received as a part of the peer-review sessions during the seminar.

We would like to thank Angelina Todorova, Head of the FMFIB Advisory Platform, Fund of Funds, Bulgaria, for her participation in the seminar. Mrs. Todorova presented on ‘Leveraging European Funds to Support Urban Development and SMEs’ as a part of the overview of funding opportunities for digital projects.

Sofia Investment Agency, on behalf of the city of Sofia, continues its participation in the Digital Cities Project and in the next few months the Agency will be finalizing the strategy report and discussing the options for the creation of governance/steering bodies. We will begin the implementation of one pilot activity before the final conference in Brussels in June.

The mission of the digital transformation strategy of Sofia is to define a series of actions that will strengthen the ICT business ecosystem in Sofia and will enable it to:

(a) develop innovative solutions for the digital transformation of the city;

(b) create new markets for digital products and services at local, national or global level, and to facilitate the access to these markets; and

(c) support the system of innovation for the development of new digital services and solutions.

The roll-out of this strategy will be accompanied by the implementation of various activities that were identified during the interviews and workshops with local stakeholders.

The list includes a total of 14 activities to be implemented in the short, medium and long term. Examples of key activities to be implemented as part of the strategy include:

  • Distributed platform of urban data,
  • Integrated tariffs and common charging model across mobile services,
  • Dashboard for real-time utilities consumption,
  • Digital and physical space for Sofia’s startups,
  • Promotion of Sofia as a risk investment destination, and
  • Online platform for services in schools.

The creation of a governance structure has been suggested to ensure the implementation of the strategy.

The final step of the initiative is going to include identification of Key Performance Indicators, development of Monitoring and Evaluation procedures and responsibilities for the next four years of strategy implementation and monitoring of the city performance.

The end of the Digital Cities Challenge and the beginning of its successor the ‘Intelligent Cities Challenge’ will be celebrated during a high level conference in June.

We would like to express our gratitude to the hosting city Algeciras and to the growing network of stakeholders and EU cities that keep supporting us.