Friday 22 December 2017 - 18.00 to Saturday 30 December 2017 - 23.59

We are announcing ‘Connecting Cities of the United Kingdom and Western Balkans through Digital Technology’ (‘Digital Cities’) programme and open call for hubs, start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The application deadline is Saturday 30 December 2017.

Through the programme, we will connect 12 cities across the UK with 12 cities from the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) through digital industry, with a focus on innovation in creative industries and technology in education. With the programme, we aim to contribute to the development of the digital technology industry in the Western Balkans and in the UK by strengthening the policies and strategy, facilitating hub and city networks and collaboration and developing the skills of professionals and hub leaders in 12 cities across the UK and 12 cities / towns across the Western Balkans. This project is funded by the UK government and implemented by the British Council in partnership with Culture Code.

The programme brings together city policy and strategy makers, as well as start-ups, digital and creative hubs and SMEs who work in innovation in the fields of digitalising city administrations, creative industries and digital education.

We will connect and develop the capacity of start-ups, digital and creative hubs and digital SMEs who work in the fields of innovation in creative industries and digital education, by providing direct networking, capacity-building, knowledge sharing, as well as collaboration and exchange opportunities.

By joining this project, digital industry professionals from the Western Balkans will have the opportunity to:

  • take part in the research and needs’ assessment of the Western Balkans digital industry
  • attend capacity-building and networking events in the Western Balkans with leading experts from both the UK and the Western Balkans (on 19 January 2018 in Montenegro, and from 21 to 24February 2018 in Serbia)
  • be matched with a suitable counterpart from the UK and complete exchange and shadowing visit in the UK (Jan–Feb 2018)
  • attend a capacity development conference and study tour in the UK in the period from 16 to 20 February 2018
  • develop collaborative projects with the UK, supported by mentors from experienced hubs and SMEs, and apply for a British Council’s UK-Western Balkans collaboration project grants (January–March 2018)
  • take part in the final networking and capacity development conference in the UK at the end of March 2018 and present the results of capacity building and collaboration actions.

 All participation costs for the participating organisations and their representatives will be covered by the project, including travels costs, accommodation and meals. Eligible organizations may be NGOs, hubs, incubators, accelerators, start-ups and SMEs active in the domain of innovation in digitising city administrations, creative industries and digital education from one of the Western Balkans countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia). 


All interested applicants need to fill in the application form and provide as much detailed descriptions in the responses as possible. The deadline for submitting the application is 30 December 2017 at 23.59 CET, by sending an email with the subject line ‘Connecting Cities Application’ with attached application form to Applications from individuals and from governmental organisations will not be considered. 

Twelve organisations / companies from both the Western Balkans and the UK (24 in total) will be selected as beneficiaries of the project, while other shortlisted organisations who apply to the open call will also have a chance to benefit from participation in individual education and networking events.