Sofia Starts its Participation in the European Commission’s Intelligent Cities Challenge Programme

2 July, 2020


We are glad to announce that the City of Sofia will participate in the Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) initiative.

Innovative Sofia, on behalf of Sofia Municipality, will manage the participation of the city in the European Commission’s initiative. The official launch of the ICC will take place between September 28 and October 2 via a series of virtual events throughout the entire week.

The Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) is the latest of the European Commission’s initiatives to build a green Europe by fostering intelligent and sustainable growth across European cities. The ICC seeks to help 100 smaller and medium-sized EU cities to support green, climate-neutral, sustainable growth, tackle the biggest urban challenges and improve the quality of life.  


100 ICC cities in 20 EU countries

After careful deliberation, 88 applications have now been selected to take part in the Challenge. This group includes 54 new ICC applications that will join up with the 26 cities that took part in the Digital Cities Challenge (DCC) predecessor initiative, including 8 EU mentor cities. Sofia is among the 26 DCC cities and it is great to have two more Bulgarian cities joining the initiative – Haskovo and Vratsa.

The EC is still selecting 10 international cities (core and mentor cities) to complete the list of the 100 cities that will take part in the ICC journey. Since 8 of the new applicants are consortia, which includes several partner cities, the selected group of cities involves a total of 124 cities. We invite you to check the ICC website for updates on the selected cities.

ICC builds on the successful Digital Cities Challenge, which saw 41 cities create a vision, strategy and roadmap for their digital transformation. Under the Digital Cities Challenge project of the EC, the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia was developed. EU experts, our team, the team of Invest Sofia and over 100 local stakeholders, including Sofia-based companies with a total turnover of over BGN 3.23 billion and over 17,000 employees, took part in the process. On June 11, 2020, the Sofia City Council unanimously approved the Document. Here is a list of everything you might want to know about the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia.


About ICC

ICC will focus on strategy implementation, a common platform for open data, a marketplace for intelligent city solutions, joint investments, new support mechanisms and a new international dimension. It will help Europe lead the way in creating smarter cities that are more sustainable and social. Through the ICC, cities will receive tailored support – in person, online, and as a community – to implement their transformation strategies. Next to expert advice tailored to each participating city, the ICC will offer regular network support activities and gatherings of the community, training and online toolboxes and mentoring from innovative mentor cities. 

The ICC programme covers a 2.5-year period and builds upon a cycle of assessment of prioritized issues and needs, vision and roadmap definition, implementation and measurement, with the objective for cities to be transformed through the use of intelligent and advanced technologies. A broad set of city-related themes are targeted by ICC, including mobility, renewable energies, clean industry, green manufacturing, eGovernment, open data, skills and employment, healthcare and safety, re-skilling, crisis management among others. Cities will be asked to mobilise the top-level leadership in their administration, attend ICC conferences and workshops, work to form a standing local intelligent city ecosystem and dedicate human resources from the city and local ecosystem for the execution of this high-priority initiative. 

In order to officially introduce the 100 cities to the initiative, a dedicated welcome meeting will be organized with all former DCC cities. This meeting will take place online in July with the objective of providing all participants with information on the programme, future events, as well as some guidelines on the work to be performed. Stay tuned!