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 school year.
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 achieved digitally;
- 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 sector.
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: https://www.slideshare.net/OttPrna/tallinn-european-icapital-2017-slides