The Minister for Business and Knowledge, Ramon Tremosa, and the President of Barcelona Tech City, Miguel Vicente, have signed a collaboration agreement this Monday that will enable the launching of two new spaces dedicated to urban mobility and health in 2022. These are two new 'piers' that will bring together startups, corporates, universities, hospitals, accelerators and other agents with the aim of enhancing these two strategic sectors for the Catalan economy and the startup ecosystem in Barcelona and Catalonia as a whole.
The first of these new 'piers', which will host the entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystem in the health sector, will be located in the former headquarters of the Catalan Ministry for Digital Policy, in 26 Via Laietana, and will have a space of 6,000 sqm. Renovation works on the building, owned by Nuñez and Navarro, have already begun, which is expected to be ready by the end of 2021. As for the space dedicated to mobility, its location is not yet decided.
For the development of this health hub, Barcelona Tech City has already signed agreements with Catalonia Bio & Healthtech and the Vall d’Hebron Hospital. The project has the support of companies that are already partners of the association and its aim is to also include universities and research centers.
The agreement provides that Catalonia Trade & Investment -the Catalan Government’s agency for business competitiveness- will contribute 275,000 euros until 2022 so that Barcelona Tech City can launch the two new spaces, which will be part of the entity’s Urban Tech Campus project. This initiative is based on the promotion of a network of spaces that are configured as hubs for innovation, specializing in sectors or technologies having great potential and that assemble agents of all kinds, both public and private, around them.
The Minister for Business and Knowledge, Ramon Tremosa, said that “the Catalan Government must facilitate projects such as these two new ‘piers’, which have a strong multiplier effect in the development of hundreds of innovative business projects, and which move the country forward from a technological point of view”. Tremosa hichlighted that "we are living a digital revolution that is comparable to the industrial revolution because it will multiply productivity across the economy, so it is very important that the administration promote projects like this."
The CEO of Catalonia Trade & Investment, Joan Romero, emphasized that “Catalonia Trade & Investment’s support for Barcelona Tech City to launch these two new spaces is part of the agency's actions to strengthen the startup ecosystem in Barcelona and Catalonia”. In this sense, according to Romero, projects such as these two new 'piers' "must contribute to accelerating the digital transformation and the incorporation of disruptive technology into priority sectors of the industry, as well as help increase the number of technology-based projects."
The president of Barcelona Tech City, Miguel Vicente, added that “the complete success and importance that Pier01 and Pier03 and the future Pier 05 Fintech have acquired as a pole of international investment and talent have shown that Barcelona has the potential to be the most important technological and entrepreneurial hub in southern Europe. With the development of the Urban Tech Campus project, Barcelona Tech City continues to make this ecosystem grow at a time when we will need -more than ever- to direct the economy towards sectors that make us more competitive and allow us to grow”. According to the CEO of Barcelona Tech City, Miquel Martí, “we are very excited to see the momentum that the Urban Tech Campus project is using. Through the two new ‘pier’s, we will be able to structure the growth, not only of the health and mobility sectors, but of the whole technological scheme of Catalonia”. "Having the strategic, technical and resource support of an entity such as Catalonia Trade & Investment allows us to continue to grow with great solvency", he explained.
Barcelona Tech City currently manages two innovation hubs, Pier01 and Pier03 in the maritime area of Barcelona, as well as the social club El Palauet, on Passeig de Gràcia. It is also about to begin work on the Pier05, which will be erected as a fintech hub at the headquarters of the Barcelona Stock Exchange.
The startup ecosystem in Catalonia
According to Catalonia Trade & Investment data, there are currently 1,500 startups in Catalonia (2019), 38% more than three years ago. These companies employ 16,900 workers, 19% of whom are foreigners. Regarding sectors, Catalan startups are mainly dedicated to ICT, leisure and health, while in terms of technology, 64% of emerging Catalan companies work with technologies linked to Industry 4.0, especially in the fields of cloud computing, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and integrated systems.