How can cities work with digital start-ups and digitalization?

in BDF Events, Debate, News

On 25 October BDF organized a workshop together with Union of Baltic Cities (UBC) at the UBC Annual Conference in Växjö, Sweden. The aim was to inspire cities in their work with start-up communities and digitalisation and to inspire new city-to-city collaborations across borders.

The State of the Digital Region 2016 report from Top of Digital Europe set the stage with Professor Martin Andersson explaining how cities can connect places and people across borders by combining “local buzz” with “global pipelines”. Inspiring cases from Turku, Gdansk and the Växjö area were given as examples of how cities in the BSR can support their digital start-up communities and help local entrepreneurs to connect with other actors and cities.

The discussion touched upon questions like: How (and why) to encourage local entrepreneurs to connect abroad? Should a city develop value propositions emphasizing uniqueness and strong ecosystems in order to attract start-ups from other cities? How to balance the competition between cities in attracting talents with a structured exchange of entrepreneurs?

Further cases from Lahti and Karlskrona suggested how cities can work in both a visionary and structured way with digitalization to empower development and change and retain and increase services.

We need more exchange programmes for start-ups in BSR and structured actions between cities Workshop participant 

Alessandro Cenderello, E&Y, concluded that the BSR, one of the most integrated and interconnected regions in the EU, can serve as an accelerator for innovation and growth as well as a platform for new smart city solutions. He encouraged more cross-border experiments between cities to provide joint solutions on joint problems and cross-border programmes to support collaboration between start-up ecosystems at different levels.

A brand new EU programme Digital Cities Challenge was shortly introduced at the workshop

The workshop was moderated by BDF Head of Public & Digital Affairs, Torben Aaberg. Full programme, short summary and presentations will be published soon on the UBC website: (direct link to come)

Contact Torben Aaberg for more information