We’re familiar with ‘smart cities’, now it’s time for ‘Smart Regions’. This is the name that has been given to an initiative in favour of the digital transformation of the Walloon area. Four million euros have been released.
Are ‘smart cities’ a Walloon speciality? This might be the case, thanks to a new budget of four million euros created by the Walloon government to encourage towns and municipalities to develop digital projects in the following three fields: energy and environment, mobility and logistics, governance and citizenship.
Under the name ‘Smart Region’, the initiative aims to fund projects that are selected via a new platform. Everyone – individuals or companies – can share their ideas for improving how a town operates in terms of mobility, air quality, data analysis, waste management, how schools and creches work, not forgetting citizen welfare, which is paramount. ‘This initiative is a real opportunity for Walloon citizens who will see their day-to-day life improved thanks to the Internet of Things* and artificial intelligence, but also for the vitality of our network of businesses, SMEs and start-ups. In this way, new activities may see the day,’ Pierre-Yves Jeholet, Walloon Minister for Digital Technology, explains.
In practice, the Walloon Region will finance up to 50% of the selected projects with a minimum contribution of €20,000, the maximum being set at €250,000. In order to ensure the digital transformation, the project should have a minimum value of €25,000. The funds will be divided in two with one part for projects under €60,000 and the other financing the rest. Projects can be submitted via the platform until 31 March. The chosen projects will be revealed on 10 May.