Building Bridges: Successful Business Mission of UCA to the Czech Republic for Smart.City Development
A successful business mission of 12 Ukrainian organizations occurred in the Czech Republic on April 24 to 28, 2022. The Czech government supported the visit organized by CzechInno and the Ukrainian Cluster Alliance. The focus was developing cooperation in Smart Cities and Territories (Smart Cities / Smart Regions). The report highlights the strong interest and successful collaboration between both sides in restoring cities and regions in Ukraine.
This program results from agreements made in Brno, where UCA signed a cooperation memorandum in October 2022. Leadership from CzechInno was crucial in promoting common interests and creating a program of 3 exchanges for 2023. The goal is to establish long-term business partnerships between Czech and Ukrainian organizations besides Smart.City mission partners plan two more visits oriented to Smart Industry and cybersecurity.
UCA and CzechInno initiated regular Smart City exchanges starting in late 2022. The agenda included:
- sharing best practices;
- transferring Czech expertise in policy making;
- discussing specific Smart City projects related to city and regional reconstruction in Ukraine.
The program in April finalized and extended these exchanges into live, personal communications and discussions.
Three-day exchanges in Prague and Pilsen
The 3-day program featured strategic sessions, a forum for presentations, and visits to Czech Technical University laboratories and the several sites of Smart City in Pilsen. The program received very positive feedback from Ukrainian participants, with 14 representatives, SMEs from Kyiv hi-tech and APPAU clusters, and also officials from Buchi, Dnipro, and Zaporizhzhia cities.
During these visits in Prague and Pilsen, the Ukrainian delegation met with representatives from Czech Technical University, the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics, and Cybernetics (CIIRC), the Czech Smart City cluster, and their partners. The focus was on showcasing Czech best practices and achievements in Smart. City segment, including strategic and methodological developments. The Czech Republic has invested 15 billion euros in Smart Cities and Regions over the past decade, which makes a good benchmark for Ukraine, where the level of investment was lower at times. Ukrainian participants also discussed projects in Ukraine and the implementation of Czech solutions in Chisinau’s Smart. City project.
The Czech Smart.City cluster plays a crucial role in uniting ecosystem actors and shaping policies. Platform Inspirelly is an intellectual crowdfunding project, led by Czech engineers, that drew significant interest from the Ukrainian delegation. The project involves global architects developing projects based on specific technical requirements, with a current focus on Ukraine. The strategy presentations were equally captivating.
The Czech-Ukrainian forum on April 26 brought together over 75 Czech participants and included online exchanges. The program featured 9 Ukrainian and over a dozen Czech presentations, followed by B2B meetings and a visit to the Industry 4.0 testbed laboratory. The Ukrainian delegation concluded the day with a meeting at the Ukrainian embassy in Prague.
I represented our company, mainly our product Electrodo – a solution that helps companies convert ESG risk into added sustainable value. I met complete understanding and interest in cooperation. Czech colleagues share our vision that the reconstruction of Ukraine should be implemented through the prism of sustainability and considering the European Union’s existing strategies in the green transition field.LEONID HATSKEVICH, HEAD OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT 482.SOLUTIONS HAS HELD 6 MEETINGS
The Smart City Forum is different because the people who participated, at least those with whom I got to know better, were ready to cooperate. Of all the events I have attended, this is the most business-like, close to active interaction.Yuriy Shchyrin, CEO and Founder of AImap (AIM)
The forum ended with a 50+ B2B meetings organized by the local EEN network.
The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is the world’s biggest business and innovation support network, established, financed, and managed by the European Commission. It represents a useful and effective tool for strengthening the cooperation between European businesses and research organizations. Enterprise Europe Network has organized several events to create and strengthen international relations with Ukrainian businesses in the past months. The coordinator of the Enterprise Europe Network in the Czech Republic, Technology Centre Prague, made extensive efforts to mobilize the Czech EEN network and its Ukrainian counterpart to build new business relations and opportunities between these two countries. Czech and Ukrainian organizers have a reason to believe that such events strengthen the mutual relations that will create concrete business cooperation opportunities for companies from both countries.Silvia Jiraskova, coordinator of EEN-Czech Republic
I saw the actual situation in Kyiv, Bucharest, Hostemel, and Irpin one week before the conference in Prague. Despite the aggression and the material and psychological damage suffered, I clearly felt the strength of the Ukrainian people to continue fighting for their country and to return to the situation before the war. These feelings were even stronger when I spoke personally with the representatives of the Ukrainian delegation at the Smart.City Exchange mission in the Czech Republic at the end of April 2023. These true leaders have set themselves the goal of making their native country, region, and cities even better and using the best experience from various fields. It will be an honor to lend a helping hand in creating and operating smart and safe Ukrainian cities.Karel Skokan, CSO of Z.L.D. company
The Industry 4.0 Testbed at CIIRC impressed the Ukrainian delegation with its unique scale and capabilities. It is a fully functional laboratory installation replicating a real technological line, allowing for innovative experiments and developments. The testbed showcased various applications for the automotive industry, including 3D printing, robot synchronization, robot experiments, and Manufacturing Management Systems (MES). The availability of crucial solutions and optimal conditions for innovative developments in this production type made a significant impression on the delegation, as nothing of its kind exists in Ukraine.
On the 3rd day of the UCA delegation’s program in the Czech Republic, had a visit to the smart city of Pilsen.
Pilsen is a prominent example of a smart city in the country, with a population of 170,000, and is the 4th largest city in the Czech Republic. The delegation visited several municipal facilities showcasing smart city solutions:
- Robotics Methodically Educational Complex: This facility trains teachers from 27 local schools to teach robotics to children aged 6 to 16. It serves as a starting point for local innovators.
- Technical Support Center for Drones: This center offers technical solutions and support for local fire, police, and rescue teams in drone usage.
- ICT Support Center “Safe City”: As a backup office, this center supports various dispatch centers and subsystems related to city surveillance, traffic control, and emergencies. It continuously introduces new solutions, including AI applications for situation simulation and quick search capabilities.
- Smart.City Landfill: This unique showcase in the Czech Republic demonstrates the advantages of smart technologies, including access control, video surveillance, parking, lighting, waste management, energy consumption, and landscaping. It aims to popularize smart city technologies and approaches nationwide, attracting visitors even from Germany.
I was pleasantly surprised by what we saw in Pilsen. It is a very high level of implementation of Smart City projects. It is vital that digitalization is carried out comprehensively and that future inventors and program developers are trained at school. In this way, an essential contribution to the future development of the city and the entire country is made. I thank the Ukrainian Cluster Alliance for an exciting and helpful event. The Czech partners are very positive and want to establish business relations with Ukrainian enterprises. And we have already established work with some cities.
We are also open to cooperation.OLEKSII BELIKOV, DIRECTOR OF THE MUNICIPAL ENTERPRISE “INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT CENTER” IN ZAPORIZHIA
Main Results of the Exchanges
Partners are quite satisfied with the results of these exchanges. At a glance, partners conclude:
- The insights gained from Czech best practices significantly improved awareness of Ukrainian organizations of key trends and approaches in the Smart.City segment, providing clarity on their current position and future direction.
- Business contacts were established with over 30 Czech partners, paving the way for active B2B exchanges between Ukrainian and Czech firms.
- Specific development projects in Ukraine are planned with at least five ecosystem partners, indicating concrete steps for future collaboration.
- Proposals for a visit by Czech President Petr Pavel to Dnipro on April 28-29 have been prepared, receiving support from Ukrainian clusters and 6 Czech partners.
- UCA strengthened relations with key Czech partners, including CzechInno and the Czech Smart City cluster, EEN-Czech. New partnerships have been established with the Ukrainian Embassy in Prague, the Czech Technical University, the Czech Institute of Informatics, Cybernetics, Robotics, the Prague Technology Center, and several private companies.
The Czech Republic stands out among neighboring countries with its genuine interest and willingness to invest time and resources in cooperation. Our challenge is to inspire fellow cluster members and associations with an ambitious agenda and strategic initiatives that can bring numerous benefits, including job opportunities and unique development prospects in Ukraine. The realm of “smart” technologies in community and city management offers ample opportunities for success to those committed to long-term results.ANATOLY DOLYNYNY, HEAD OF “SMART CITIES AND SMART REGIONS” RC, UCA
Clusters are a catalyst and a powerful tool for the innovative development of the economy, cities, and territory and for countering crises. Likewise, It is clear that such UCA trips strengthen and expand our ecosystems for industries, and where UCA, our Resource Centers are stepping up to become national-level leaders and ecosystem coordinators.YURCHAK OLEKSANDR, CEO of UCA
See the video of Czechinno about the event here.
The Executive Direction, the Resource Center “Smart Cities and Smart Regions,” and the clusters of the UCA express their sincere gratitude to the Czech partners who most contributed to the organization of this visit – the CzechInno agency, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, the Czech Embassy in Ukraine, the Smart City cluster and the EEN network Czech. Thanks also to all members of the Ukrainian delegation for their active participation, representatives of the Embassy of Ukraine in Prague, and the involved Ministries for their support.
Executive Direction of the UCA