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Smart Belfast businesses get their heads together to tackle urban challenges

26 Sep 2017
Representatives from the business community joined leading urban technologists at the launch of the Smart City Framework this morning at City Hall, where Belfast City Council and Invest Northern Ireland also revealed details of their Collaborative Challenge Programme, giving groups the opportunity to access up to £25,000 of funding.

Belfast City Council developed The Smart Belfast framework to build on the strengths of Belfast’s digital sector and seeks to encourage greater innovation and collaboration between local businesses, universities and the public sector to better understand, analyse and tackle urban challenges. Over the coming months Belfast City Council will be launching a range of programmes and initiatives as part of this new approach.

The first of these programmes is being launched this morning in partnership with Invest NI. £25,000 will be made available for up to eight networks seeking to explore innovation in urban transport, the visitor experience, the circular economy, active living and managing the public estate.

Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Nuala McAllister said: “The enthusiasm displayed this morning is so refreshing. Our SMEs have been inspired to collaborate at the Smart Belfast event, they are already networking to see how they can come up with innovative solutions which could significantly enhance our ability to compete globally – and improve people’s quality of life here.”

Jarmo Eskelinen, Chief Innovation & Technology Officer at Future Cities Catapult said: “We’re excited that Belfast City Council is launching its new Smart City Framework. This marks the culmination of a 12-month collaboration between Future Cities Catapult and Belfast City Council. The outcome will lead to improved services for the citizens of Belfast and new opportunities for local businesses.

“We’re delighted that Invest NI has built on the principles of the Framework and developed a Smart Belfast Collaborative Challenge, which seeks to address five key challenges taking a people-centred approach to developing solutions in the city that will utilise data science and smart technologies.”

Invest NI Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton added: “The Smart Cities market provides an excellent opportunity for the city to harness the power of data science and new technologies to tackle urban challenges.

“Northern Ireland is one of the leading data management and analytics regions in the UK and this initiative offers local SMEs scope to enhance their competitive edge meanwhile contributing to developing innovative solutions in a key growth area for the local economy.

“I would encourage local businesses to get involved in this Smart Belfast Collaborative Challenge which is further evidence of the ongoing partnership working between Invest NI and Belfast City Council."

For further information, go to www.belfastcity.gov.uk/smartcities
Smart Belfast launch