Media Release

Winnipeg Named One of Top 21 "Smart Cities" in Global Competition

October 24, 2011: Winnipeg, MB – For the second year in a row, Winnipeg has won a coveted spot on the Intelligent Community Forum’s list of Smart21 Communities.

The Smart21 announcement is the first stage of ICF's annual Intelligent Community Awards cycle. The awards recognize 21 communities for their use of broadband technology to facilitate social and economic development. It is followed by the naming of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year, selected from among the 21. Winnipeg is one of four Canadian cities recognized this year. The 2012 list also includes Quebec City, Quebec; Stratford, Ontario; and St. John, New Brunswick.

“I’m excited to see that Winnipeg continues to stand out as a smart community leader and strives for innovation in information and communications technology,” said Mayor Sam Katz.

Facing challenges of an increasing shortage of qualified workers and innovation, The ICF praised Winnipeg for substantially boosting the digital inclusion of its aboriginal or First Nations population, the city’s second-fastest growing ethnic group. A new Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund is helping community-based ISPs to extend coverage to 67 rural towns and villages. Also, The University of Winnipeg developed a diploma program designed to prepare aboriginal students for entry-level jobs in IT, while an association of IT companies is bringing ICT education to aboriginal youth in urban and rural secondary schools.

To encourage innovation and boost the success rate of start-ups, Winnipeg has partnered with outside organizations to open life sciences research institutes in the city, developed a Smart Park and start-up incubator, and founded a research accelerator that has helped produce 23 patents and 46 industry-commercialized technologies.

“Being recognized as a global smart community is a great honour for Winnipeg, especially amongst such prestigious company,” says Marina R. James, president and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. “As one of four Canadian cities to be recognized, it is gratifying to see Canada as a whole is becoming an ‘intelligent nation’. This accolade helps us position our city and our country in the global economy, leading to prosperity for all our citizens.”

About Economic Development Winnipeg Inc.
Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that leads and facilitates investment, partnership, capacity building, tourism and the management of market information. Led by a private sector board with core funding from the City of Winnipeg and Province of Manitoba, Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. promotes Winnipeg as an ideal place to live, work, invest and visit.

About ICF
The Intelligent Community Forum<> is a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community. Whether in industrial or developing nations, communities are challenged to create prosperity, stability and cultural meaning in a world where jobs, investment and progress increasingly depend on broadband communications. For the 21st Century community, connectivity is a double-edge sword: threatening established ways of life on the one hand, and offering powerful new tools to build prosperous, inclusive economies on the other. The Intelligent Community Forum seeks to share the best practices of the world's Intelligent Communities in adapting to the demands of the Broadband Economy by conducting research, hosting events, publishing newsletters and producing an international awards program.

For further information contact:
Gillian Leschasin
Manager, Communications and Media Relations
Economic Development Winnipeg Inc.
P: 204.954.1977

Orly Konig Lopez
Communications Manager, Intelligent Community Forum
+1 240-425-3283
+1 646-291-6166 (x104)


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