This month Sofia Investment Agency, together with Sofia Municipality and the Urban Mobility Center, launched its official participation in the European Commission’s special training and networking Digital Cities Challenge program. Sofia is one of the 15 European cities selected to participate in the project. The cities will receive strategic support in solving and implementing city-specific projects. The EC program will support Sofia in initiatives for digital transformation of the urban environment, society, business, entrepreneurial environment, policies and institutions.
In Brussels, Sofia Investment Agency joined the first of a series of seminars that shared successful practices from city leaders which have already been part of the program. The kick-off session gathered delegates from the participating cities of Sofia, Patras and Thessaloniki /Greece/, Yassi /Romania/, Lakila /Italy/, Ventspils /Lithuania/ and Granada /Spain/ with the so-called Blueprint Cities in the program – Amsterdam and Espoo, Finland. They will gradually share their experience as an example of successful digital transformation in individual economic sectors in the upcoming months as well as their experience in open data, interactive urban applications, technology centers, infrastructure, etc.
A special session in the two-day meeting was devoted to the importance of the program for the business – what kind of companies are building their business through digitization, what are the benefits of digitization for companies, what they need to succeed in their digital transformation, and how this change transforms the way of functioning of processes and people in the companies.
The next step in the project for Sofia is to bring together a team of people and organizations with appropriate attitude and experience that could be of use in the process of urban digital transformation. It is necessary to collect up-to-date data to determine the level of digital maturity of the city and to identify specific steps for progress as well as to measure the success indicators.
We expect the second wave of cities to join the second stage of application in the Digital Cities Challenge program, to reach a total of 15 European cities that will change the urban environment in accordance with their individual circumstances and phase of development.