In Hungary the transformation of the automotive sector from the existing powertrain to the alternative ones and the digitalisation of supply chain mean a big challenge for the local actors also for the governments. In case of West Transdanubian region especially in City Szombathely it is the crucial point how to handle with this transformation and find new ways to make the ecosystem more resilient.
The Irish study visit in September 2019 inspired us how we can start and find new directions for our region’s economy. In the last few months there were many coordination meetings with the local and regional stakeholders. On 20th February 2020 there was a Local Economic Development Conference organised by PBN and City Szombathely with 100 participants including CEOs, governmental actors, local companies and NGOs.
The sectoral trends were highlighted by the CEOs of multinational companies located in the city and the mayor of City Szombathely introduced the development plans after 2020. In the event prominent speakers highlighted how can we deal the economic challenges and emphasized the importance of a long-term partnership. As a result of the conference and further coordination meetings a Cooperation Agreement entitled “Forum Digital” between the city and the county was launched to promote the success of the region in digital competition. You can read more about “Forum Digital” cooperation also in English: www.forum-digital.hu
An Online bilateral meeting on smart city was organised with DG Connect on 17th March 2020 and based on PBN’s suggestion the city joined to the digital smart cities program - www.living-in.eu/we-signed - with the signature of the Mayor of Szombathely and took part in the 1st online conference organised already in March. On 18th March there was another online conference entitled „DIHs serving the public sector” where the city and PBN (am-LAB) were also took part. Submission of a joint tender for the development of digitization skills among the general public with the participation of PBN and the city is expected to carry out in the next few days.
Besides the uncertainty of the automotive industry the Covid-19 has also a huge impact of the regional economy which have to be treated by the policy makers. Mitigation of the economic damages is depending on how quick we could react. The city of Szombathely isn’t wasting time a joint development of a “SzombathelyreSTART” Program was launched to restart the economy by supporting local businesses.
Although the normal life was changed in these difficult times but we don’t have to lose our focus on the future plans.