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The city of Heraklion is the capital of the island and the region of Crete and is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the Mediterranean region. Its location, at the crossroads of three continents, makes it a historic and strategically important city. Heraklion is the fourth largest city in Greece. Its Municipality has a population of approximately 225.500 and extends over an area of 684.3 km2. The city proper has a population of around 140.000 inhabitants.

The town is comprised of a dynamic and imaginative combination of natural beauty, climate, strategic position, cultural heritage and scientific background that has created an appropriate environment to support a particular mechanism which adds value to the broader entrepreneurial activity in the region and stimulates the local economy. Today Heraklion is the top choice for tourist destinations in the Mediterranean thanks to strategic geopolitical position connecting three continents and many different cultures. Furthermore the city is also the commercial and scientific centre of the island.

Heraklion, the Chandax of the Arabs and Byzantines, was one of the island's major ports and markets, and at times one of the most economically active towns in the wider region. Since the birth of the first European civilization of the Minoans, more than 3500 years ago, this region and the innovations of its inhabitants have played a vital role in shaping the economic, social and cultural history of the region.

Its history gives the city a heritage that few small cities in the world can approach. However, today, Heraklion is a town in the midst of yet more cultural change, growing in its sense of self in the modern European context. Proud of its pivotal role as the epicenter of three continents, Heraklion sees itself as a city for the new century with the desire, talent and energy to further develop its economic prosperity and culture.

A wealth of cultural events is organized throughout the year, spaces have been allocated to young artists to exhibit their work and seminars, lectures and art workshops are on the increase offering to citizens and visitors alike authentic cultural experiences.

The existence of the University of Crete (UoC), the Hellenic Mediterranean University (HMU), the Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH), contribute to the production of knowledge and research results, to the development of the appropriate scientific human resources and the corresponding enterprise Activity. In recent years, a new wave of innovative entrepreneurship has emerged.

This wave comes from young people with talents and skills exploiting new technologies, businesses that transform their business model, as well as new scientists who turn their ideas into a marketable service or product through their Business Plan and start their own business with an international horizon. For all of them, Heraklion can become a model center for the development of innovative communication products, applications and services.

The positive features of the wider environment and interventions favoring the creation of ecosystems of innovation in the heart of the city, from which a creative wave of restarting economic activity can be spread, using the know-how, the experience, the mood, the time and the physical presence of entrepreneurs, researchers, academics and every creative and active group of young people. We must emphasize that these actions meet an internationally recognized process, the “quadruple propellant”, e.g. the co-operation of Local Government, Academic and Research Institutions, Business and Citizens. A key element of the interventions in the local economy is the Center for Democratic Dialogue, Innovation and Entrepreneurship with the distinctive title “DEMOSCOPIO”.

The main goal of the Municipality of Heraklion is to attract international interest and to turn this into a center of creation and development. For that reason, the municipal authority builds communication channels with other European cities and at the same time, participates in activities concerning education, city planning, economy, politics, foreign affairs etc.

A major scope towards the city resilience is revitalizing the local economy, production and processing, with important tools using new technologies and innovative actions and partnerships as well as reducing local contradictions and encouraging local societies into a new way of coexistence, with common goals and common interests.

Matching the development strategy and dynamics of the Municipality of Heraklion with the 17 SDG’s and the 169 Targets

Currently, the Department of Planning and Organization is in the process of interconnecting the strategic development priorities of the Municipality of Heraklion for the current municipal term, with the goals of Agenda 2030.

The Strategic Plan of the Municipality of Heraklion for the current municipal period, is based on the following individual thematic strategic plans of the Municipality:

1) The Integrated Urban Intervention Plan of Heraklion

2) The Sustainable Urban Development Strategy of Heraklion

3) The Strategic Plan of the Municipality of Heraklion for the "Smart City"

4) The Strategic Plan of the Municipality of Heraklion for the "Resilient City"

5) The Local Strategic Plan for Lifelong Learning "Heraklion - A city that learns"

6) The Business Plan of the Tourism Promotion of the Municipality

7) The Sustainable Energy Action Plan of the Municipality of Heraklion, in the framework of the "Covenant of Mayors" for climate change

8) The Local Waste Management Plan of Heraklion.

The vision for the Municipality of Heraklion, is to become "Smart - Resilient - Viable Municipality, with a strong Tourist and Cultural Identity".
Integration of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and their connection with Entrepreneurship in the Municipality of Heraklion

Since January of 2021, the Municipality of Heraklion has been implementing a Program Contract with the University of Crete, with the object of designing initiatives in order to achieve the adaptation and integration of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) at the level of local strategies and policies. with entrepreneurship in the Municipality of Heraklion, through relevant development studies and training seminars by the University of Crete. The implementation of the Project will be based on the approach of integrated coverage of the needs of both the executives of the Municipality of Heraklion and the citizens.

The goal of the University of Crete through the program contract with the Municipality of Heraklion, is the support of the Municipality in the adaptation and integration of 17 SDG’s at the level of local strategies and policies, to achieve environmental sustainability, social inclusion and economic development.

The role of business in sustainable development is crucial. In particular, the responsible local entrepreneurship operates in addition to the policies of a Municipality to achieve SDGs. In this context, the integration of SDGs by the Municipality of Heraklion is expected to highlight business opportunities both in the dynamic fields of local economy (tourism, culture) and in emerging fields (waste management, combined travel, promotion of the Municipality, connection with inland, agri-food, etc.).

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