7th Event of the Online Advisory Programme

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many vendors experienced declining sales as people were limiting their social contacts and were forced to stay at home. In many municipalities around the world, former vibrant centers where you could once witness an array of local businesses, are now coined by vacancies or dominated by international brands. As a response to this, many digital solutions have been developed through which customers could support local businesses. During the latest session of the Online Advisory Programme (OAP) of the International Smart Cities Network (ISCN), two projects from very different places and with different but sustainable and local approaches were presented and discussed.

Sandra Aguirre and Iris Ordóñez from the Institute of Planning and Development Management of the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara (IMEPLAN) shared with the participants the learnings from the development and piloting of the online market solution “Mi Mercado AMG”. The digital solution, which was developed with the support from the ISCN, supports local market vendors to develop a sustainable digital business model in addition to their analogue presence. Over the last months, learnings from the implementation process of the solutions have been frequently shared with the partner cities of the ISCN.

Furthermore, the hands-on transfer package which allows cities worldwide to scale and adapt the solution to their own context was presented by Julia Brennauer from the ISCN Team.

The second solution presented was equally a response to the COVID Pandemic and the lockdown of April 2020. In the Canadian municipality of Québec, an civil society organisation started to develop a registry of Québec based small businesses: “Le Panier Bleu”. Farid Mheir, CTO of Le Panier Bleu shared his experiences from the development of the government supported platform. The project itself focuses mainly on the strong regional link of businesses and products and aims to provide high quality alternatives for those interested in buying locally.

How a digital solution supports local trade in Guadalajara:

How a digital solution for local markets can also work in your city:

How an online platform strengthens sustainable and regional consumption in Québec: