On Tuesday, November 7th in Lisbon, the winners of the European Innovation Capital contest were announced within the framework of the Web Summit, one of the world’s largest technology conferences. Tallinn along with Tel Aviv were awarded the Runner-Up Prize after the winner Paris, along with a special prize of €100,000 for expanding its innovation activities.
The title of 2017 European Innovation Capital and €1 million
prize went to Paris, where the 2024 Summer Olympics will be
held. In the case of Paris, the factors that were emphasised
included its broad utilisation of innovation across various
sectors of urban life, as well as the involvement of all the
interested parties, especially children and young people, in
the building of a contemporary city. Paris has the
ambition of become a Fab City, with one of the world’s largest
campuses for startup companies, which will encourage the
citizens and entrepreneurs to initiate innovative projects.
Paris promised to allocate the prize money to startup a new
school providing IT education already at the start of the next
As one of the most innovatively minded national capitals in
Europe, Tallinn presented itself as ‘The City Where the Future
is Now’. The application was based on three main principles:
- Tallinn as a true e-society, where everything can be
- Tallinn as a city with a healthy lifestyle, where green and
healthy ways of life are human rights;
- Tallinn as a ‘let’s do it’ city, where creativity and joint
undertakings unite communities.
At the awards ceremony Tallinn was represented by Toomas Sepp,
the City Secretary, who said that this is not only a
recognition of Tallinn as a local government, but also
recognises everyone who has participating in the building of
modern Tallinn – this includes entrepreneurs and civic
associations, as well as the universities and the state
According to Taavi Aas, the Acting Mayor of Tallinn, the high
ranking in the competition came as a pleasant surprise. “The
participants in the final round of the competition were very
impressive. We are extremely happy that the innovative
activities that have taken place in Tallinn merited such great
attention as a positive model. This recognition will definitely
help to make Tallinn even more competitive internationally, and
attractive for its own and outside talents, as well as more
connected and happy place for its communities,” said Aas.
According to Taavi Aas, the €100,000 prize will be used
to support the implementation of new ideas that support the
communities in order to improve urban life.
The 2017 European Innovation Capital competition was announced
in March. This year, the competitors included 32 cities from 17
countries that wished to become the successor to Barcelona and
Amsterdam, the winners of the 2014 and 2016 European Innovation
Capital competitions. The cities that reached the final round
of the competition included Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki,
Paris, Tallinn, Nice, Tampere, Tel Aviv, Aarhus and Toulouse.
The competition is open to cities with more than 100,000
residents which are located in European Union Member States or
countries involved in Horisont 2020, the EU Framework Programme
for Research and Innovation. Tallinn participated in the
competition for the first time and the preparatory team
included Ott Pärna, Jaanus Vahesalu, Toomas Sepp, Kristel
Kibus, Silver Tamm, Janno Kauts and Elo Eesmäe.
Tallinn iCapital of Europe 2017 clip: https://mediabank.visittallinn.ee/eng/videos/promotional_videos/oid-16210/?&offset=1
Tallinn iCapital of Europe 2017 application slides: