The most innovative mile in the country

The most innovative mile in the country

April 21, 2024

There is hardly any other place in Austria where digitalization expertise is more tangible than at the DIGITAL MILE Linz. A mile that stretches from the tobacco factory to the port of Linz. A mile full of the concentrated IT power of 110 companies with digital added value and their 3,500 employees. In 2023, the community, the budget and the hours of employee volunteering grew enormously.

In 2021, the general problem of IT staff shortages gave rise to the idea of joining forces and acting as a location brand. The DIGITAL MILE Linz was born. A brand that puts the location in the public eye as a "UNIQUE PLACE TO LIVE AND WORK". "The clear goal: to make Linz attractive and visible for national and international IT specialists. At the same time, we want to use the power of the community to retain existing employees," says Georg Spiesberger, initiator of the DIGITAL MILE Linz and Managing Director of TECH HARBOR. In 2023, the DIGITAL MILE Linz was therefore awarded the "HRbert" prize for innovative and sustainable HR projects in Upper Austria.

Economic, social and societal commitment. In its third year of existence, the power of the community has achieved a great deal. Joint German courses, management training, a dedicated bus service, as well as social and community activities such as sports and charity events. At the latter, 15,702 euros were raised in 2023 alone and donated to people with disabilities. In 2023, 42 companies with more than 2,200 employees were actively involved in the further development of the brand and its initiatives. For example, 136 children were looked after at the DiMi summer camps and 142 employees were trained in joint training courses.

Digital City Linz. In addition to the nine core companies, the city of Linz and the province of Upper Austria are also supporting the community with EUR 30,000 each. "The innovative strength and dynamism of Upper Austria as a location are visible in many areas, especially within the framework of DIGITAL MILE Linz. Here, forces are being pooled in the central future topic of digitalization, creating a joint radiance that extends beyond the city and state borders. This will make an important contribution to supporting our activities to attract high potentials from Austria and abroad," explains Markus Achleitner, Provincial Councillor for Economic Affairs . Klaus Luger, Mayor of the City of Linz, also sees the community as a beacon of the local IT landscape. "The digital power of the city of Linz is particularly visible through the DIGITAL MILE. It has become a symbol of Linz's entrepreneurial spirit. The DIGITAL MILE Linz underlines the status of our city as one of the most innovative in Europe," said Luger. The solidarity between the city and the province not only strengthens DIGITAL MILE Linz, but also underlines its importance for the location.

Double the input from companies. The majority of the budget, which more than doubled between 2021 and 2023, was contributed by the companies themselves. While they contributed EUR 60,000 in 2021, they invested EUR 135,000 in DIGITAL MILE Linz in 2023. However, it is not just the budget that has doubled, but also the volunteer hours of the employees. Over 400 hours of voluntary work were spent on this. Spiesberger: "The voluntary and meaningful commitment of our employees contributes enormously to their identification with the community." Commitment that opens up opportunities that individual companies would not be able to manage for cost and resource reasons alone. This creates benefits that benefit all 3,500 employees within this mile.

Encouraged by the funding commitment from the City of Linz and the Province of Upper Austria, DIGITAL MILE Linz is continuing to address future issues relevant to the location. Together, not only will cross-company HR services be optimized, but also topics such as transport connections, extensive support for children and young people in the STEM field and the admission of English-speaking blood donors will be actively promoted and improved.