On April 25-27, the Smart City Forum (Czech Republic) organized by the Czech Innovation Agency CzechInno, z.s.p.o. with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Kyiv, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and the Czech Technical University and jointly with the Ukrainian Cluster Alliance (UCA). The forum was attended by a Ukrainian delegation of representatives of the UCA, the cities of Bucha, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro and business representatives. We would like to share with you the feedback from the participants.
Anatolii Dolynnyi, Head of the UCA’s Smart Cities and Smart Regions Centre
We have seen a genuine interest on the part of the Czech side in cooperation, including various formats of interaction, as well as a willingness to invest not only time but also funds from the national government, which qualitatively distinguishes the Czech Republic from other neighbouring countries.
In these conditions, I see the challenge for us to inspire our fellow cluster members and other associations with a civilian and ambitious agenda, as well as to thank our Czech partners not only with high-quality proposals for individual projects, but also with strategic initiatives with the prospect of tens of thousands of jobs for the military and refugees in Ukraine, and other unique development opportunities that Ukraine currently offers.
The field of smart technologies in the management of communities, cities and agglomerations provides ample opportunities for success for all those who have the “long will” to work for results.
Here’s how Irina Didenko, marketing and communications manager of TeraWatt Group, commented on her participation in the business mission of Smart City Forum:
On the first day, the members of the Ukrainian delegation had the opportunity to meet with Czech development companies in the Smart Cities segment and get acquainted with their innovative solutions in this area. Technical specialists of the local university are integrated into the processes of implementation and practical realization of the ideas of the development of the Smart Cities project, which differs from Ukrainian realities. On the first day of the meetings, representatives of Ukraine and the Czech Republic had the opportunity to share cases of their practical experiences and know-how in this area.
The second day started with the Smart City Forum and was incredibly packed with events, B2B meetings, and a tour of the test laboratories of the Czech Technical University. The representatives of the Ukrainian delegation demonstrated to the representatives of the Czech Republic their solutions, concepts, and opportunities for the development of Smart Cities within the framework of the recovery of Ukraine. The building of long-term partnership relations between countries and businesses is the key to the country’s sustainable development, as well as the “improvement” of interaction between businesses and the government to achieve the common goal of economic growth. During this day, the delegation visited the Embassy of Ukraine in the Czech Republic, where the next steps in the development of relations between the countries and individual cities and regions were discussed.
On the third day, the delegation from Ukraine was invited to the city of Pilsen to the competence centre of SIT Port and the test site of the smart city of Pilsen.
The business mission to the Czech Republic made an incredible impression and understanding that Ukraine is undoubtedly a country with European values, developed technological potential, and powerful engineering background. This event gave our company the opportunity to establish 15+ contacts with whom, in such a short period of time, negotiations on cooperation at the B2B level are already underway. Very important issues that were discussed at the forum are the need for close cooperation between authorities, businesses, and cluster associations. This synergy of efforts will lead to rapid, high-quality, and uniform development of the country.
We would like to thank Tereza Šamanová for making this trip happen and for her strong support in all aspects. Special thanks to Alexandre Yurchak and UCA for developing initiatives and promoting the brand of Ukraine.
Yuriy Shchyrin, CEO and founder of AImap (AIM), gives a detailed feedback on successful communication with Czech partners and Ukraine’s prospects for reconstruction.
I want to talk not only about the Smart City Forum itself, but also about the communication I managed to organise with the Czech participants. In fact, for 4 days after the event, I worked in the Czech environment, met with people, looked at businesses, how they work, what their prospects are, what their expectations are from Ukraine, and what makes this forum different from all the previous ones I have attended.
The Smart City Forum is different in that the people who participated, at least those I got to know better, are ready to sign contracts, ready to take decisive action. Of all the events I have attended, this is the most businesslike, close to active interaction.
This is what I really liked. I am grateful to the Ukrainian Cluster Alliance, Oleksandr Yurchak and Anatoliy Dolynnyi for being so active in involving me in such events.
It is important to understand how the Czech Republic sees itself in the global context, you need to understand this specificity. In terms of closeness, I think that Czechs are quite close to Ukrainians. In addition to winning, Ukraine needs to develop its international function. And here it is important to understand how this international function looks like in the Czech Republic, how it looks like in other countries, and how they implement their individuality, their uniqueness in the international market, division of labour, and logistics chains. Because logistics chains have to be rebuilt, and this is becoming obvious. They will be rebuilt in Europe, because it does not want to be dependent on any other countries, let alone Russia or any authoritarian totalitarian regimes.
In general, the concept of Smart City is now being adopted in the Czech Republic, but cities are not ready for it. Therefore, Ukraine has the advantage that we have virtually nothing to change, as there are very few similar projects implemented. And if we talk about destroyed cities, destroyed territories, then it is worth planning new construction, a new architecture of systems. My presentation focused on the methodology of construction recovery with transparent control and audit of damage, as well as the construction and development of industrial parks, which should lead to the construction of new cities. Conceptually, the new cities of the New Ukraine should be better than what has already been built in the rest of the world. Yes, it sounds ambitious, but they have to be. If we build the old and patch up the broken, the world will not be interested in us. By and large, it will be more expensive, unattractive for investment, and there will be no point in it.
As for investments, we need to work on military guarantees, and this is also a task for the government. We know that the German government has now issued a mechanism and provided several investments to German companies with a guarantee of investment insurance during the war. I would like to see the Czechs do the same and other countries around the world move in this direction, it is very important. In general, I am going home with a positive impression and hope to bring back, in addition to contacts, friendly and professional acquaintances, clients, possibly potential investors, so I recommend everyone to participate actively in international integration, because this is our defence capability, this is our strength and this is our production of international function.
I hope that something fundamentally new will appear in Bucha, with which I have a lot of personal ties, very soon, and I would like to develop these contacts into useful interaction.
We received the following comment from Yaroslav Nedashkovskyi, CTO of a-Gnostics.
Thanks Ukrainian Cluster Alliance for the support and organization.
The trip was very rewarding. We got the opportunity not only to tell about a-Gnostics and Di-agnostics, but also to learn about the experience of our European colleagues in terms of interaction between science, government and business.
This is the format of the conference and networking that is more productive in terms of establishing contacts between Ukrainian companies and their foreign partners.
Particularly interested in the experience in obtaining EU grants for science-intensive developments. We hope that such conferences will be able to attract a wider range of companies.
Leonid Khatskevich, Business Development Manager at 482.Solutions, held 6 meetings this year and evaluates their effectiveness as follows
I represented our company as a whole and especially our product Electrodo, a solution that helps companies convert ESG risk into added sustainable value. I met with full understanding and interest in cooperation. Our Czech colleagues share our vision that Ukraine’s reconstruction should be implemented through the prism of sustainability and taking into account the existing EU strategies in the field of green transition.
Oleksii Bielikov, Director of municipal enterprise of Zaporizhzhia City “Information Technologies Management Center”, also took part in the business mission, shares his impressions.
I would like to share my impressions of the Smart City Forum, which took place recently in Prague, Czech Republic, and in which I participated as part of the Ukrainian Cluster Alliance business mission.
The delegation of the Ukrainian Cluster Alliance included representatives from Odesa, Kyiv, Lviv, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia and Bucha. These cities are very different from each other not only in terms of geography/population, but also in terms of the level and number of digital technologies and projects already implemented in their communities.
For several days, we had the opportunity to get acquainted with the latest developments of Czech specialists and learn interesting cases from Ukrainian colleagues. I am very glad that we went on an excursion with the delegation to the city of Pilsen, learned about the Smart City projects implemented there (with funding from the community) by the Správa informačních technologií města Plzně.
It is really impressive. From the fact that, in addition to outdoor video surveillance cameras, drones are also used, to the fact that the city’s university is actively involved in the implementation of smart ideas.
This forum is a great opportunity to learn from the experience of our Czech colleagues in creating an effective Smart City, and our city has a lot to strive for.
I would like to thank the Ukrainian Cluster Alliance for a very interesting and useful event. Our Czech partners are very positive and eager to establish business relations with Ukrainian companies. They have already established cooperation with some cities.
We are also committed to cooperation.
To be continued!
Andrii Hnelychko, specialist consultant on smart technologies in the field of E-ticket, NGO entrepreneurial club, and here is how he describes his impressions.
Thank you all very much for your cooperation, acquaintance and time spent together.
Oleksandr Yurchak, thank you very much for organizing a productive and very promising event such as this forum.
I have seen and found a lot of useful things for myself. Foreign experience, if it is also so successful, will be very useful for Ukraine in general and for us as carriers of new technological and smart transformations and technologies.
Once again, I was convinced that everything needs to be systematic, and my Czech colleagues confirmed this in my opinion.
I hope that this is only the beginning of the exchange of experience and the implementation of more ambitious forums and meetings.
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