Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Belfast to get £250k from IBM to smarten up image

Belfast has become just the third city in the UK to receive a £250,000 grant aimed at making the city a more attractive place to invest.

One hundred cities from 400 applicants around the world were awarded the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant, which will provide Belfast City Council with access to some of the company’s top experts to analyse and recommend ways Belfast can become an even better place in which to live, work, visit and invest.

The successful Belfast bid follows on the announcement two months ago that the city is to receive £13.7m as part of the UK government’s super-connected cities project will make it one of the world’s leading digital cities.

The programme, which is IBM's single-largest philanthropic initiative, will mean a team of six top IBM experts coming to Belfast for a three-week period early next year to study the issues highlighted in the bid document.

Belfast is the only UK city to successfully win its bid this year. Previously Birmingham and Glasgow both benefitted.

Stanley S Litow, IBM vice president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs, and president of IBM's Foundation, said that Belfast had demonstrated preparation and willingness to become a smarter city.

“We consider it a privilege to share with Belfast the talent and expertise of our most gifted employees, who are the envy of the industry,” he said.

“They have premier skills in a range of disciplines, all useful for helping to build smarter cities and a smarter planet.”

Launched in 2011, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, $50m (£40m) competitive grant programme.

In 2012, IBM has already assisted 33 cities including Cheongju, Korea, where IBM recommended transportation strategies, Dortmund, Germany, and Malaga Spain, where IBM formulated plans for economic, workforce, skills development and Nairobi, Kenya, where IBM created a plan for traffic management.