Following the Cluster Mission in Milan, Block.IS has led by its partner FEDACOVA organized the sixth such event in Valencia, Spain on 20th and 21st October 2021 gathering the participants from 6 European countries, the first time introducing Slovakia on the Block.IS map!
Block.IS Cluster Missions aim to bring clusters and blockchain SMEs together, to inspire them to learn more about Block.IS ecosystem and to understand better how they can benefit from EU funding, business and technical support.
Through the welcome speeches and verbal tours by Sergio Barona (FEDACOVA secretary-general), Javier Mateo García (Deputy Director of Entrepreneurship at València Activa) the development, aspirations and potential of the Valencian region were presented. The special focus of the region lies in innovation, agriculture and historical heritage.
The Cluster Mission itself was held at the premises of Innsomnia – a Valencian Open Innovation Hub introduced by its CEO – Francisco Estevan, who also provided participants with a deep dive into the Blockchain startup ecosystem, both in Europe and València. Innsomnia was created in 2016 with the aim to develop a new business model to take companies into the digital age by providing them with necessary boost and acceleration. Innsomnia also has an extensive experience with classic economic companies, problems and internal financing needs of SMEs in the field of innovation.
The entrepreneurial, startup & tech side of the Innsomnia were presented by Carmen Furquet and Francesc Pons Garcia followed by Nora / Leonor Romero Saiz and KMZERO hub – a “nourisher “ of the Foodtech startups. Josep Miquel Juan Climent explained how academia of Valencia Polytechnic University together with the Entrepreneurial Confederation of the Valencian County influences the Valencian innovation ecosystem. Sara Sanjuan of Startup Valencia showcased why the startup ecosystem association in Valencia Region is the global home for entrepreneurs, tech & innovation and Carmen Martinez introduced a whole new topic: school for Business Angels under the scope of BIGBAN Inversores Privados activities.
PITCH YOUR SME & SHOW US YOUR CLUSTER!
The first day of the event was in the light of both the ecosystem presentations as well as the startups and clusters from all over Europe.
Block.IS Cluster Mission Valencia’s best are: Corporra – a unique blockchain-based web platform that digitise shares, share dealing, loans and financial instruments; FIAB (Federación Española de Industrias de la Alimentación y Bebidas) – an association that represents the Spanish food and beverage industry; Alicorn, a full-service digital agency and member of the ICT Cortex (a cluster for information technologies, innovation, education, design and technology development in Montenegro) focusing on digital transformation, gamification and software development; Bild Studio – a company building enterprise solutions, web/mobile, design, branding – from full cycle of development services to branding, strategy and digital transformation; InovCluster is a mobiliser platform for the agro-industrial sector of the Centre Region of Portugal; AVIPE – the association of Wine Growers of the Municipality of Palmera, Portugal replicating the power of Blockchain; NiCAT, Cluster of Advanced Technologies bringing the inspiring story of Niš – Serbian region with engineering in its DNA; and lastly, the Industry Innovation Cluster, an accelerator of Slovak Innovation gathering nine companies and organizations under the auspices of the French-Slovak Chamber of Commerce.
PANEL & WORKSHOPS
During the event, a panel and two workshops were held. On the first day, a panel on Valèncian Entrepreneurial and Innovation Ecosystem was held. Moderated by Ismael Abel Valles (FEDACOVA), it shed light on the true challenges of converting traditional sectors and regions to modern innovation hubs, but also avenues for future collaborations including stronger connections to the LATAM countries. Panel participants were Francesc Pons (Innsomnia), Nora Romero (KM ZERO / Food innovation hub), Josep Miquel Juan (UPV/CEV UNOE), Sara Sanjuan (STARTUP Valencia) and Carmen Martinez (BIGBAN Inversores Privados).
Second Day was opened by Empar Martinez (Industry secretary of Valencia’s Region). During the second day, the first workshop focused on Blockchain for different industries. The participants had the chance to get introduced to work of Ainia, ITI, ITENE and BauKunst. It was of particular importance to participants to see the application of blockchain across different verticals and industries, to be able to explore and retroactively address their own solutions and how they could be advanced and interconnected with new domains of applications. Additionally, this was the smooth transition into the second, brainstorming workshop focussing on the Block.IS Innovation Challenges.
Led by Danijel Pavlica from InoSens, the second workshop has introduced two current Block.IS Innovation Challenges focussing on tourism and fashion industries. Both startup and cluster representatives were divided into 4 teams engaging in a small-scale hackathon. 2 teams were competing in addressing the same challenge, either the introduction of blockchain to the Second Hand Market (Fashion) or Payment and Services (Tourism) respectively.
As the innovation starts with the spark that is an idea, all of the teams were encouraged to apply to the Innovation Challenges either in combined teams or on behalf of their startup/cluster. Block.IS aims at replicating successes from its three verticals (agrifood, logistics, finance) to other sectors, and it will organise 2 Innovation Challenges for innovative blockchain startups/SMEs. The top three (3) SMEs per challenge will receive €1.000 as a lump sum, while the winner of each challenge will receive an additional prize of €12.000.
Block.IS Cluster Missions are moving up north, the next destination being the wonderful cities of Regensburg, Germany from 2nd to 3rd of November; and Brussels, Belgium – that is scheduled for November 25–26th. Find out more here about speakers, participants and how you can join online!