February 11, 2016: Winnipeg, MB – For the second time in three years, Winnipeg has earned a coveted spot on the Intelligent Community Forum’s (ICF) list of the Top7 Intelligent Communities in the world. The seven diverse communities chosen include three from Canada, two from Taiwan, one from Germany and one from New Zealand. This honour follows Winnipeg’s selection last October as a Smart21 Community of 2016, which narrowed a competitive field down to the 21 most compelling cities.
The Top7 announcement is the second stage of the ICF's annual Intelligent Community Awards cycle, which is followed by the naming of the Intelligent Community of the Year in June 2016, selected from among the seven. A five-time Smart21 Intelligent Community (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016), EDW chose not to enter a Winnipeg submission in 2015 following the city’s 2014 Top7 finish.
The awards program salutes the accomplishments of communities in developing inclusive prosperity built on a foundation of information and communications technology. Each year, a theme is chosen that relates to this overall objective. This year’s theme, From Revolution to Renaissance, asked applicants to consider the ways cities and towns plan for their future at a time when the economy, the environment, and the patterns of urban and rural life are experiencing dramatic change.
In alphabetical order, the 2016 Top7 Intelligent Communities are:
• Hsinchu County, Taiwan
• Montreal, Quebec, Canada
• Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany
• New Taipei City, Taiwan
• Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
• Whanganui, New Zealand
• Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
“Honouring Winnipeg as a Top7 Intelligent Community for the second time since 2014 is another significant step forward in promoting our city as one of the most progressive places in the world to live, work, play and invest,” said Greg Dandewich, senior vice-president of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. “This year’s Top7 finish is evidence that we continue to be a global leader when it comes to integrating public and private enterprises with education and training initiatives in ways that consistently resonate with intended audiences both here and around the world.”
The ICF judging panel isolated several key reasons why Winnipeg made its second appearance on the Top7 list this year. The following two differentiators are among the highlights: first, how the city pursues economic growth by connecting industry and education more systematically; and second, how its indigenous and cultural assets are leveraged. Among multiple standouts, the panel noted Winnipeg’s public-private Composites Innovation Centre, which develops technologies and supply chains for high-performance composites based on agricultural products. Also celebrated was the city’s programmatic attempt to equip its large aboriginal population with digital tools through initiatives like the Digital Voices project offered at Sisler High School, which provides students with digital skills training and supports them in building personal, familial and cultural stories across multiple media.
“Winnipeg’s international reputation is clearly on the upswing as a forward-thinking city well-equipped to face the challenges of a broadband-based economy,” said Edward Suzuki, a senior manager at Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. who spearheaded this year’s submission. “When we join our fellow finalists later this year for the Intelligent Community of the Year announcement, we can once again help shape the conversation about what it means to be an intelligent community and why it’s important.”
The Intelligent Community Forum Awards Program concludes in Columbus, Ohio, on June 16, 2016, when one of the Top7 Intelligent Communities succeeds Columbus as 2016 Intelligent Community of the Year.
“Canada and Taiwan are again well-represented among the Top7 Intelligent Communities,” said Lou Zacharilla, Intelligent Community Forum co-founder. “These are nations where regional and national policy has long aimed at helping their citizens adapt to the demands of the broadband economy, which has given them a lead in moving from broadband technology to truly transformed communities.”
A broadcast-quality video announcing the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2016 is available via the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJf5AXjRwRE.
About Economic Development Winnipeg Inc.
Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. (EDW) is the lead economic development agency for Winnipeg. EDW facilitates investment promotion and attraction, capacity building, tourism development, marketing and communications, and the management of market information. By applying competitive intelligence and by fostering relationships with industry leaders, government officials and community stakeholders, potential opportunities and innovation drivers are evaluated to develop key industries and define future economic growth. EDW supports targeted sector, community and social development, and promotes Winnipeg’s diverse economy and high quality of life.
EDW leads global investment attraction, and local business retention and expansion, with its YES! Winnipeg initiative. YES! Winnipeg’s business development team assists in the creation and retention of jobs, identifies opportunities that attract new investment, focuses on expansion and helps local entrepreneurs launch new commercial ventures.
Tourism Winnipeg is the city’s official destination marketing organization tasked with increasing visitation and delivering the best possible visitor experience. A division of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc., Tourism Winnipeg’s mission is to facilitate a healthy, prosperous, responsible and fully integrated tourism industry that enhances Winnipeg’s economic growth through the acquisition of meetings, conventions, sports and events, group travel and leisure tourism.
About the Intelligent Community Forum
The Intelligent Community Forum (www.intelligentcommunity.org) think tank, headquartered in New York, is a global network of 145 counties, cities and towns with a think tank at its heart. ICF studies and promotes the best practices of the world's intelligent communities as they adapt to the new demands and seize the opportunities presented by information and communications technology (ICT).
To help cities and towns build prosperous economies, solve social problems and enrich local cultures, the Intelligent Community Forum conducts research, hosts global events, publishes books and produces its high-profile annual international awards program. The forum has two institutes in North America dedicated to the study of the movement and an affiliate ICF Canada organization. Global leaders, thinkers and media observers follow and participate in the ongoing global dialogue initiated by the Intelligent Community Forum.
In 2012 ICF was invited to participate at the Nobel Peace Prize conference in Oslo, Norway, and in 2014 its model and work was recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which, according to the American government, is "aimed at creating a more flexible and responsive system of workforce development to meet the needs of employers looking to fill 21st century jobs.” The forum’s foundation has an association made up of 145 designated intelligent communities worldwide, which is represented by mayors and key civic leaders. For more information, go to www.icf-foundation.org. For more details on the Intelligent Community Forum’s recent publications and programs, please visit www.intelligentcommunity.org.
For more information, please contact:
Director, Marketing & Communications
Economic Development Winnipeg Inc.
Phone: 204.954.1961 Cell: 204.898.4866
Director of Operations
Intelligent Community Forum
Phone: 001.646.291.6166 ext. 105
Intelligent Community Forum
Phone: 001.212.249.0624 Cell: 001.917.715.0711