The Port of Barcelona is promoting the Barcelona Port Challenge, a public-private partnership program to accelerate technology-based companies to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the port and logistics community. This was explained in a press conference at the end of September by the President of the Port of Barcelona, ​​Sixte Cambra; the deputy general manager, Pedro Arellano, and the director of the Founder Institute Barcelona, ​​Urs Rothmayr, which is collaborating in the project as one of the leading start-up accelerators in the world, with ten editions of its international program in Spain and which has created over 70 companies.

Cambra stressed that after undertaking the expansion of the port area, the Port is now focusing on the efficiency of its logistics chains through innovation.

"Barcelona is the main technology hub in southern Europe, and aware as we are of this reality we want to be part of it" stressed Cambra, who argued that digital companies based in Barcelona generate 15,000 highly skilled jobs, 50% of the companies have been created in the last five years and they all have an international outlook, and that in 2015 more than 1,000 million euros were invested in technology companies created in Barcelona.

 The program, which will last three and a half months and has around thirty mentors, will start in late November, although previously presentation sessions will be organised for the course , which will start with approximately 25 entrepreneurs.

However, Rothmayr explained that this figure may be reduced to a dozen participants in the final stages of the program, which can only be reached by entrepreneurs who start up a limited company.

To take the course, applicants must perform a predictive test that will determine whether the person has "entrepreneurial DNA", according to Rothmayr, who added that the course covers from the idea and the business plan to the preparation of the company for launch.

Arellano explained that the model wants to generate businesses in the context of trends such as the Internet of things, the 'big data', 3D printing and augmented reality, among others.

Upon completion of the course, which has a cost of 950 euros, the best start-up in the edition will win a prize, and the participants who complete a project with impact in the port sector will be reimbursed the cost of the program.

The course also has the involvement of Barcelona Tech City, Barcelona Activa, the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce,, ​​Catalunya Emprèn and 'business angels' of IESE and ESADE.


Source: La Vanguardia/ November 2016

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