The regional government of Lower Austria, lead partner of the InnoBridge project, participated in a short-term exchange of personnel with Sofia Development Association with the purpose of sharing know-how and skills development in the area of fostering innovation. Kerstin Koren, Head of the government’s Department of Technology and Digitalization, visited Sofia to exchange direct experiences and work alongside with the staff of SDA.

The staff exchange included visiting Webit Festival, supported by Sofia Municipality, and more specifically the Webit City Summit and the Sofia’s Place at Webit, co-hosted by SDA. Kerstin Koren met with start-ups supported by Sofia Fund for Innovations, Webit organizers, Sofia municipal councillors and other innovation and start-up ecosystem players, to gain first-hand knowledge how Sofia uses coordinated high-profile international events to foster innovations.

The staff exchange continued with the first Balkan Hackathon “Bridging the Digital Divide”, co-organized by SDA, and meeting with participants from nine Balkan countries: Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Greece.The Bulgarian and the Austrian Partners presented the InnoBridge project and its approach to the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mrs. Maria Gabriel, who expressed her support for the partners’ efforts and her personal commitment to fostering youth opportunities and gender equality through digital economy.

The staff exchange is part of the InnoBridge project for improving the innovation delivery policies, an INTERREG EUROPE project cofounded by EU’s ERDF.