SPARCS City Forum
01 july 2021

Services for Businesses and the Business Ecosystem within the Smart City Realm 

As part of Work Package 5’s replication strategy, Fraunhofer IAO organised the internal SPARCS City Forum on July 1st 2021 from 9:30 to 11:30 CET. The topic of the forum was Services for Businesses and the Business Ecosystem within the Smart City Realm. Four city representatives presented valuable experiences and strategies in regard to the forum’s topic. The four speakers were Elina Wanne from the City of Espoo, Sanna Öörni from VTT, Sebastian Graetz from City of Leipzig and David Škorňa from the City of Kladno. Over 20 participants took part in the event from nearly six partner organisations. Each presentation was followed by a Q&A where the participants had the opportunity to interact with the speakers that lead to a productive intimate discussion.   

The event was kickstarted with a short introduction by Pieter Bult of Fraunhofer IAO, that focused on the key dimensions of the business ecosystem. A quick overview on the topics Smart Cities & Business collaboration, setting an attractive Business climate and Business services for smart cities, the set stage for the forum.  

The first presentation titled ‘Business Espoo: Helping companies thrive’ was by the SPARCS Espoo City project manager, Elina Wanne. As a lighthouse city, Espoo is trying to explore the challenges and possibilities for building an ecosystem and supporting businesses. They look forward in creating a conducive environment for entrepreneurs and companies by bringing all services under one roof. For more information:   

The next presentation also focused on the city of Espoo. A deep dive into the Smart Otaniemi district of Espoo was presented by the co-creation manager, Sanna Öörni. The Sustainable Development Goals is at the heart of this innovation district. Smart Otaniemi brings together start-ups, SMEs, research institutes, public sector and so forth to co-develop and pilot new solutions. The highlight of the presentation was the co-creation model developed by Smart Otaniemi. For more information:  

The third presentation on the Smart City Challenge in Leipzig was presented by Sebastian Graetz, Project Manager, Digital City Unit at the City of Leipzig. This competition is in cooperation with the Smart City infrastructure Hub of Leipzig. This highlighted that the smart city challenge serves as a testing ground of ideas and business models. It also provides a setting for companies and start-ups for joint collaboration. For more information:   

The fourth presenter was David Škorňa from the City of Kladno, who spoke about Urban Transformation and Carbon Neutrality by 2050 in Kladno. David, stressed upon the need and importance of the creation of a business ecosystem for urban transformation in Kladno.  

Lastly, the city forum discussion was put into words on a collaborative whiteboard platform where the participants wrote about topics such as, take away points from the presentations, how different challenges can be overcome and what should be avoided when setting the framework for businesses in the smart city context.