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News 27 September, 2023 Digitalisation R&D

Basque Open Industry will show Europe its industrial and technological ecosystem at the European SME Week (SME Week) from 13 to 17 November.

Talent, internationalisation, energy-environmental and technology-digital transitions. SME Week 2023. Exhibition and stands at the BEC: “Rebuild Ukraine”.

“Let’s meet in Innovation Land”: The Basque Government and its Development Agency are organising Basque Open Industry at the Bilbao Exhibition Center (BEC) and will also host the European SME Week (SME Week 2023), as well as the SME Assembly, the annual meeting of the Europe Enterprise Network (EEN). The whole event has been planned as an event that will show European countries a representation of the Basque industrial and technological ecosystem.

“The European Commission has named the Basque Country as a territory of ‘high innovation’, located among the top-level countries where our innovative activity is 10% higher than the European Union average and well above the average at State level (+23%),” said Arantxa Tapia, Minister of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, during the presentation of the event this morning.

“To reach these levels of innovation, our industry is sustained mainly through SMEs, which are highly internationalised and have managed to carve out a niche for themselves; sometimes accompanying some of our large companies and at other times seeking their own path as ‘hidden champions’.

The Minister of the Basque Government, ‘Arantxa Tapia’ has presented the activities of the European SME Week, which will begin on Monday 13rd of November with the Basque Open Industry, (a two-day event organised by the SPRI Group/Development Agency) and which inherits the dynamics of the successful Basque Industry 4.0, held until the pandemic. On this occasion, it will also be aimed at demonstrating to European representatives the capabilities of the Basque technological ecosystem at the service of industry.

This event is a space to visualise the reality of a transition towards a more digital, greener, and more inclusive Euskadi. It will be a kind of live observatory of the latest trends in advanced manufacturing and emerging applications of Basque smart industry. The Basque Country has stepped on the accelerator in innovation, in fact, it has climbed 21 places in the European ranking. “Our will is to continue working to place ourselves in the top category as leaders”, stressed the minister, who considers that “we can be very proud as a country of the effort made, making the Basque Country one of the best places in the EU to innovate”.


Talent, internationalisation, energy-environmental and technology-digital transitions

The programme includes conferences, round tables, and practical workshops, with a structure in three blocks related, on the one hand, to talent, on the other hand, to trends for smart industry and, in addition, to energy-environmental and technological-digital transitions. It will also be an opportunity for Basque SMEs to interact between different sectors and with agents related to innovation, internationalisation, and entrepreneurship.

On the first day, after the minister’s speech, the main conference will be given by a representative of the US Department of Energy and a subsequent round table discussion on the Basque industrial ecosystem from an international point of view.

In addition, the Basque Internationalisation Agency (Basque Trade & Investment) will focus on the importance of talent in organisations in its multiple aspects, the need to promote professional vocations linked to industry with the support of Confebask and the Vice-Ministry of Universities, the capacity for professional performance in international environments and the need to deploy public-private policies to attract talent.

In the afternoon, there will be an opportunity to learn about some of the success stories of the BIND 4.0 programme, which has accelerated almost 200 start-ups thanks to the connection with other Basque companies of different sizes and industrial sectors.

Tuesday 14th of November will focus on the new trends in smart industry, with two-star topics such as Al – by the Basque Artificial Intelligent Center (BAIC) – and Industrial Cybersecurity. The weight of the Basque technology centres, gathered around the Basque Research & Technology Alliance (BRTA), will be felt with several talks on digitalisation and green industry. The BRTA alliance will attend the Basque Open Industry with four research agendas. The aim of these agendas is to address the challenges of society and business in each area by defining the research and technology development priorities that respond to them in areas such as Smart Industry, Personalised Health, Healthy Food and Energy Transition.

In the afternoon, several success stories within the Basque Digital Innovation Hub (BDIH) related to additive manufacturing, advanced materials, robotics, smart machines, and digital health, among others, will also be explained.

The space dedicated to the two energy-environmental and technological-digital transitions will discuss the Basque microelectronics strategy (with the Basque Microelectronics Hub), opportunities in the field of energy (moderated by the Energy Cluster), the circular economy (with talks led by the public environmental management company, lhobe) and internationalisation.


Exhibition and stands at the BEC: “Rebuild Ukraine”.

In addition to the talks, there will be an exhibition area in the Basque Open Industry (BOI), as a showcase of the capabilities of some of the companies that represent the Basque SME ecosystem.

They will be divided into different areas of specialisation, such as cybersecurity, internationalisation, technology centres through the Basque Research & Technology Alliance (BRTA), artificial intelligence with the presence of the Basque Artificial Intelligence Center (BAIC), digital transition skills, as well as start-ups. In total, around 80 exhibitors are expected to attend.

The stands of the start-ups linked to the Bind 4.0 programme will be present, both those from last year’s edition and those that have applied for the 2023 edition, and 18 offices of the Foreign Network will also have their space, with the aim of attending to the internationalisation interests of Basque companies, specifically those from America:

  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Colombia
  • Chile
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Uruguay

From Europe:

  • United Kingdom and Ireland
  • France
  • Germany (to be confirmed)
  • Italy
  • Poland and Ukraine
  • Czech Republic and Slovakia

And from Asia:

  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • India
  • Asean (Southeast Asian countries office)
  • China

In relation to internationalisation and, specifically in this exhibition area, it should be noted that the event will have a stand where members of the office responsible for the Ukrainian market, as well as Ukrainian companies and entities will offer business opportunities to Basque companies around the “Rebuild Ukraine” reconstruction programme supported by the European Union. During the event it will be possible to request meetings in this sense, both with Basque Trade staff and with Ukrainian companies and associations.

The active participation of 150 companies with speakers and direct activities is expected, in addition to the numerous attendees. In previous editions, almost 2,000 visitors have registered for the event.

Registration can be done HERE.


SME Week 2023

The European SME Week will continue in the following days with other events of continental dimension. On the one hand, the SME Assembly (14-15 November) is the most important event for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe. In a hybrid format (face-to-face and online), the assembly will feature high-level panels and interviews, expert roundtables, interactive workshops, and informative masterclasses. The aim is to equip SMEs with the right tools for the transition to sustainability and digitalisation.

On the other hand, the annual conference of the Europe Enterprise Network-EEN will take place (between 16 and 17 November). The Basque Country has been part of this organisation since its inception; in fact, the SPRI Group leads the Basque consortium of EEN, made up of a thousand European representatives. It is the world’s largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises, is active worldwide and brings together experts from organisations recognised for their excellence in business support. It includes chambers of commerce and industry, regional development organisations, universities and research institutes and innovation agencies.


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