Digitalisation is a priority in the green and just transition as it offers industries a way to manage their operations in a more efficient, sustainable and collaborative way.
The DBAN (Digital Blue Economy and Innovation Acceleration Network) project responds to the need for the creation of a digital network in the sustainable blue economy. Co-funded by EMFAF and led by the Burgas Municipality in Bulgaria, DBAN is creating a network for the acceleration of digital blue innovations. The objective is to support blue growth initiatives in Bulgaria, Georgia and Ukraine by helping SMEs in their transitions towards sustainable resource management.
To encourage blue economy growth in the three partner Black Sea regions, the project identifies coastal and maritime tourism, maritime transport, marine renewable energies, the prevention of marine litter and preservation of marine resources as the key areas for intervention. As stated by project coordinator Zoya Stoyanova: “In the current geopolitical and economical turbulent times and in a state of pressing climate emergency we need to encourage cities and society as a whole to bring positive change by growing consciously, developing sustainably, acting and innovating responsibly”.
The first step is to develop a regional blue growth strategy to understand what the local needs are for capacity building and what the potential for smart blue innovation is. This will lead to the creation of a digital blue innovation acceleration platform, an open data repository that provides tools and knowledge to build the capacity of blue economy stakeholders and encourage their collaboration.
The project partners will organise Blue Innovation Hackathons in Burgas, Batumi and Odessa where the winning finalists will go through a mentorship and incubation programme. They will develop and test their pilots and business plans to provide sustainable solutions that decarbonise and digitalise blue economy sectors. Moreover, each partner will organise a Blue Innovation Expo and smart specialisation conferences in their city.
All the activities of the projects are set to improve the visibility and participation of stakeholders and value chains for the advancement of a digital and environmentally sustainable blue economy at the Black Sea level.