Thursday, March 15, 2012

@City_of_Atlanta Wins IBM @Smarter_Cities Challenge Grant #in #ibm #atlanta


IBM grant to focus on creating new economic development strategy


[News release from the Atlanta Mayor's Office of Communications]

ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed announced today that IBM has selected the City of Atlanta to receive an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant.  The grant provides Atlanta with access to IBM's top experts to help create a new economic development strategy for the city with an increased focus on job creation and global competitiveness.  Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development agency, applied for the grant.

“IBM has acknowledged what we have all known for a long time:  Atlanta is the economic engine for the southeast,” said Mayor Reed. “IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge Grant will significantly assist our ability to recruit new businesses, create jobs and remain globally competitive.  This grant and the support of the company’s team of experts will help drive economic growth in the city by identifying new key industries to foster innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a competitive grant program in which IBM is awarding a total of $50 million worth of technology and services to 100 municipalities worldwide through 2013.  The approximate value of each Smarter Cities Challenge grant is about $400,000.

"We are proud IBM has recognized that Atlanta is one of the country's knowledge capitals and wants to help us fortify our position with an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant," said Brian McGowan, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta. "Invest Atlanta looks forward to working with IBM's top experts to identify ways to make the City of Atlanta and even better place to work, live and start or run a business."

IBM selected cities that made the strongest case for participating in the Smarter Cities Challenge. During these engagements, IBM technical experts, researchers and consultants immerse themselves in local issues and offer a range of options and recommended next-steps.  Among the issues they examine are healthcare, education, safety, social services, transportation, sustainability, budget management and energy.

"The cities that have been selected are all different, but they had one clear similarity: the strong personal commitment by the city's leadership to put in place the changes needed help the city make smarter decisions," said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and President of IBM's International Foundation. "These cities demonstrated a desire to set an example for other municipalities, an eagerness to collaborate with multiple stakeholders, and a strong commitment to consider implementing recommendations the city felt would be the most feasible and beneficial to their residents."

IBM's consultants and technology specialists will help municipalities analyze and prioritize their needs, review strengths and weaknesses, and learn from the successful strategies used by other cities worldwide.  After studying the role that intelligent technology might play in uniting and advancing different aspects of city life, IBM then outlines a range of concrete strategies designed to help make cities healthier, safer, smarter, more prosperous, and attractive to current and prospective residents and businesses.

During Smarter Cities Challenge engagements, IBM will help recipients become comfortable using a free Web site called City Forward (http://www.cityforward.org).  The site gives policy makers, citizen-advocates and the public a new perspective on how their respective cities are performing compared with others.  It serves up easy-to-use data to help them make more informed decisions that improve services and make their citizens and businesses healthier, happier, safer, more productive and prosperous.

IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge is an outgrowth of IBM's Corporate Service Corps grants program, in which IBM deploys teams of top employees to areas in the developing world to work on projects that intersect business, technology and society. Since the launch of Corporate Service Corps in 2008, nearly 1,400 IBM employees based in 50 countries have been dispatched on more than 140 team assignments in 24 countries.

The Smarter Cities Challenge is sponsored by IBM's Corporate Citizenship program and IBM’s International Foundation. IBM has been a leader in corporate social responsibility and citizenship for 100 years.

To learn more about IBM's corporate citizenship initiatives, please visit: www.citizenibm.com

To find out more about IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants, please visit http://smartercitieschallenge.org and http://www.youtube.com/user/citizenIBM

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For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visit http://www.atlantaga.gov
or watch City Channel 26