Media Release

Winnipeg Named a "TOP 7 Intelligent Community" in Global Competition

January 23, 2014: Winnipeg, MB – For the first time, 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 the United States and two from Taiwan. This honour follows Winnipeg’s selection in October 2013 as a Smart21 Community of 2014, which narrowed a competitive field of nearly 400 submissions down to the 21 most compelling cities.

The Top7 announcement is the second stage of ICF's annual Intelligent Community Awards cycle, which is followed by the naming of the Intelligent Community of the Year (selected from among the seven) in June 2014. 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 asked applicants to consider the power of culture in the emergence of intelligent communities.

In alphabetical order, the 2014 Top7 Intelligent Communities are:

“Recognition of Winnipeg as a Top7 Intelligent Community is an important step in promoting our city as one of the most forward-thinking places in the world to live, work and invest,” said Mary Jane Loustel, chair of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc.’s board of directors. “Given the increasingly competitive global landscape, our ability to attract new companies and a skilled workforce is critical, and Winnipeg’s Top7 finish shines a very favourable light on our city’s ability to successfully address the myriad challenges of a broadband-based economy.”

The ICF judging panel isolated several key reasons why Winnipeg made its first appearance on the Top7 list this year. The following differentiators are among the highlights: how the city’s aboriginal communities embrace their cultural tradition of storytelling, which has found modern-day equivalents in the forms of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and the Digital Voices Project; how the Composites Innovation Centre has developed high-performance composites based on agricultural materials like hemp and flax, which reduces costs for employers like Boeing and Magellan Aerospace; and how Winnipeg’s thriving arts and culture scene inspired an independent film from two Winnipeggers (James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot) called Indie Game: The Movie, which went on to win awards at the Sundance Film Festival and was a New York Times Critic’s Pick.

“After finishing in the top 21 for the last four consecutive years, Winnipeg's selection as a Top7 Intelligent Community for the first time elevates our city to an exciting new level that adds much to the incredible momentum we’ve experienced recently that is prompting the world to take notice of us like never before,” said Marina R. James, president and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc.

Intelligent communities represent models of economic and social transformation. They are not necessarily the world’s most advanced technology centres, the most wired cities or the fastest-growing economies. Instead, intelligent communities embrace best practices in broadband deployment and use, workforce development, innovation, digital inclusion and advocacy in ways that offer inspiration to other jurisdictions around the world.

“This year's Top7 group is unusual in that they represent only three nations. However, they collectively are a canvas that represents our movement. Each made it to the list by demonstrating how they have begun to fuse technology, culture and collaboration for economic sustainability. They have set a new course for other cities to follow,” said Lou Zacharilla, Intelligent Community Forum co-founder.

A broadcast quality video of the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2014 is available via the following link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=86oIW325Z-s.

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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 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 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. www.economicdevelopmentwinnipeg.com

About the Intelligent Community Forum
The Intelligent Community Forum studies and promotes the best practices of the world's intelligent communities as they adapt to the demands and seize the opportunities presented by information and communications technology. To help communities build prosperous economies, solve social problems and enrich local cultures, the Intelligent Community Forum conducts research, hosts events, publishes newsletters and books, and produces its high-profile international awards program.

Over more than a decade, the Intelligent Community Forum has become an international movement that attracts the attention of global leaders, thinkers and media observers. The Intelligent Community Foundation consists of 126 cities and regions that have been designated as ‘Intelligent Communities’ and which participate in an ongoing global dialogue to strengthen local economies. www.intelligentcommunity.org

For further information, please contact:

Croft Petersmeyer
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Economic Development Winnipeg Inc.
Phone: 204.954.1961 Cell: 204.898.4866
croft@economicdevelopmentwinnipeg.com

Paul Brent
Senior Communications Specialist
market2world communications inc.
Phone: 613.256.3939
paul@market2world.com

Louis Zacharilla
Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
Phone: 212.249.0624 Cell 917.715.0711
lzacharilla@intelligentcommunity.org

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