A total of 333 Catalan companies will participate this year in the MWC and 4YFN, the world’s most important technological event held next week in Barcelona, according to figures from ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment. Specifically, 70 companies, technology centers, and entities will have a stand at MWC 2023 and 263 startups at 4YFN.
This was announced this morning by the Minister for Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, after meeting with a group of Catalan companies that will participate in 4YFN together with the Catalan Government. Accompanied by the Secretary for Digital Policies, Gina Tost, and the Secretary for Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, Albert Castellanos, Torrent was able to get first-hand knowledge on the technological projects they will present at the event.
The Minister assured that “Just as the MWC is indelibly linked to Barcelona, Barcelona is indelibly linked to the MWC: it is the principal route of entry for Catalan companies into the international technological scene and the best showcase to demonstrate to the whole world why we are Southern Europe’s major digital and technological hub.”
More companies in the Catalan Government area
Torrent announced that this year the Catalan Government will promote the participation of 104 companies and startups in the MWC and 4YFN, 20% more than in 2022. They will be located in the two pavilions organized by the Ministry of Business and Labour at MWC and 4YFN with the goal of finding investors, meeting partners and new customers, gaining visibility and opening new international markets.
Specifically, 48 companies will be located in the government’s pavilion at MWC and 56 at 4YFN. Of the fifty startups participating in 4YFN, 36 are from different fields and will be located at the ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment stand, while the other 20 are specialized in the health sector and in this case, the Catalan Government supports them in collaboration with Biocat and the Catalan Agency for Health Quality and Assessment (AQuAS). You can consult the list of participating companies on this link.
“MWC and Barcelona are indelibly linked, and MWC is the best showcase to demonstrate to the whole world why we are Southern Europe’s major digital and technological hub”
Roger Torrent, Minister of Business and Labour
Live demonstration of AI applied to robots working for people
Minister Torrent also revealed the details of the live demonstration that this year's government MWC stand will feature, with which "the government aims to portray its strategic commitment to the promotion of artificial intelligence, one of the advanced digital technologies which will have the most impact on our society and our economy."
Titled 'When artificial intelligence connects with people', the Catalan Government stand at the MWC will offer a demonstration consisting of an audiovisual theatrical recreation showing three scenes in the daily life of two people (an elderly man and his daughter) who interact with three robots equipped with AI (Guim, Nug, and Blanca) at home, at work, and in a medical setting. According to Torrent, with this demo, "visitors will be able to see how AI, integrated into robots and applied innovatively, facilitates people’s daily lives in different areas such as households, workplaces and health situations and, what’s more, in Catalan."
The Government is channeling its AI commitment through the Artificial Intelligence Strategy of Catalonia Catalonia.AI led by the Ministry of Business and Labor. The strategy deploys different initiatives and projects with a double objective: to strengthen the Catalan AI ecosystem, making it a hub of innovation, leadership, and attraction of talent and investment, and to promote the adoption of this technology in the administration, the productive ecosystem and the country's research centers to improve both business competitiveness and people's lives.
By 2030, AI is forecasted to bring about an additional increase of 15.7 trillion dollars in global GDP, but only those countries investing in its adoption and development will be able to benefit from this impact. "Catalonia has a strategy, it is doing its homework, and this will result in more economic growth, more quality employment, and more well-being for citizens," Torrent said.
The demo 'When intelligence connects with people' will be officially presented at the Catalonia stand on the first day of the MWC and will be repeated throughout the four days of the congress, from 27 February to 2 March.
The impact of the MWC on Catalan companies
Since the MWC’s first year in 2006, the Catalan Government has facilitated the participation of 339 Catalan companies in the event. As a whole, these companies have doubled their turnover and increased their workforce by 38% since their initial participation in the congress.
As regards the 4YFN, since 2015 ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment has helped 157 startups to present their technological innovations in this show aimed at emerging businesses. These startups have tripled their turnover, more than doubled their workforce, and have raised over 320 million euros since their first appearance at the event.
As part of the event, ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment is organizing the MWC Open Innovation Challenge, a set of encounters that aim to connect Catalan and international companies with large firms to promote open innovation. A total of 41 corporations will participate, 16 Catalan (such as Agbar or Fluidra) and 25 international corporations (such as AstraZeneca, Samsung, Sony, or BMW), all seeking solutions to a hundred technological challenges. The corporations and solution providers are forecasted to celebrate some 450 meetings together.