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Drop-In sessions for businesses to sign up to Digital Cities Challenge

27 July 2018

Derry City and Strabane District Council has been selected by the European Union to participate in the Digital Cities Challenge, a digital transformation initiative aimed at helping cities implement digital policies and Smart City initiatives to transform day-to-day life for residents, businesses, workers and entrepreneurs.

Welcoming the announcement and urging businesses and stakeholders to come on board and participate in it, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr John Boyle said it was fantastic news for the Council and a great opportunity for residents, businesses, workers and entrepreneurs to become more innovative and productive.

He said: “As a member of the European Digital Cities Challenge, Derry City and Strabane District Council is now part of a network collaboration, knowledge sharing and peer learning involving over 40 cities. As part of the Challenge we will be proactively engaging all sectors in our community to get them to help us to develop and implement digital policies that can transform daily life for those living and working in the city.

“A key part of this project is the linkage with the Council’s Inclusive Strategic Growth Plan and the objectives we have set out to improve our digital economy and accelerate our digital connectivity. Our success in becoming a fellow city in the Digital Cities Challenge is hugely significant and a great opportunity for us to network and benchmark with other European Cities, through a series of capacity building and networking seminars.”

Anne Marie McLaughlin, Project Manager with ERNACT (European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology) said a series of Drop-In sessions are being held over the coming weeks to increase awareness and participation in the project.

She said: “We are hosting a number of informal drop-in sessions for those who want to find out more about the project and who are willing to become Key City Stakeholders by completing a self-assessment questionnaire. The results of the city’s self-assessment will assist us in determining our current digital capacity and the areas in need of most focus during the implementation phase of the Digital Cities Challenge.

“The drop-in sessions will take place at the Old Fire Station in Hawkin Street, Derry, on Wednesday, 1 August from 1pm to 5pm and on Thursday, 2 August, from 8 am to 12noon. We are hoping that as many organisations, businesses, SMEs and entrepreneurs as possible will come along to find out how they can be part of this innovative project.”

Kevin O’Connor, Head of Business with Derry City and Strabane District Council said the participation of the public is key to the success of the project.

“Everyone has an important role to play in this initiative. Active participation by start-ups, tech companies in need of digitalisation, educational and research facilities, telco providers and financial institutions is critical to ensuring that the city and district, its businesses and residents, gain as much as possible from this challenge.

“As outlined in our Strategic Growth Plan, Derry and Strabane has strong aspirations to boost productivity and create growth, as well as nurture and attract digital talents and entrepreneurs and we believe this Challenge will allow us to do that. It provides us with high level policy advice and coaching to assist us put advanced technology at the service of citizens and procure investments in critical infrastructure like open data,” he added.

The drop-in sessions are scheduled to take place as follows - Wednesday 1st August from 1pm to 5pm and Thursday 2nd August from 8am to 12noon. For those interested in finding out more who are unable to attend the information sessions, contact [email protected] for more information or alternatively log on to www.digitallytransformyourregion.eu