BIND 4.0 SME Connection
Present your startup to the sectoral challenges of the Basque industry

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Second edition January 2023

BIND 4.0 SME Connection

What is BIND 4.0 SME Connection?

In BIND 4.0 SME Connection, startups will be able to face new industry challenges and immerse themselves in the Basque Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem, through open innovation. The selected startups will be able to implement their solutions in real environments, collaborating with benchmark industrial SMEs in the Basque Country.

This is a new public-private initiative of BIND 4.0, created in collaboration with the industry’s Cluster Development Organisations (ODC [Organizaciones Dinamizadoras de Clústeres]). The aim is to bring startups closer to SMEs in order to speed up their digital transformation and face and solve their technological challenges.

The driving force behind the SME Connection initiative is to use the connections and experience of the BIND 4.0 Open Innovation Platform to generate new opportunities for collaboration between Basque SMEs and startups, following the Cluster Challenges model.

Figures from the 1st edition


SMEs and
their challenges


Cluster Development Organisations




Startup solutions





What it offers you

SME Connection allows SMEs and startups to work on sectoral technological challenges promoted by Basque clusters

Sectoral challenges promoted by clusters

Leading Basque SMEs, together with the clusters, identify a series of common challenges that directly affect their businesses. The aim of the BIND 4.0 SME Connection initiative is to respond to these challenges with the best technological response on the market. Participating SMEs can select the solutions presented that best fit their demand, depending on the challenges posed.

Challenges of participating SMEs

They are leading benchmark companies in the sectors of Aeronautics, Food, Automotive, Bio-health, Construction, Energy, Railway Equipment, Foundry and Forging, Habitat, Wood, Office and Contract, Maritime Industries, Environment, Paper, Iron and Steel Products and Facilities, Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, ICTs and Knowledge and Transport, Mobility and Logistics, which are seeking external solutions for their internal digital transformation challenges. These SMEs are also active members of the clusters that promote industrial challenges.

Phases of the programme:


Public presentation of Cluster challenges and Open Call for startups


Pre-selection and evaluation of desired solutions. Preliminary list of selected startups.


Startup pitching sessions and matchmaking with participating SMEs


Definition and agreement of the terms for each startup – SME challenge


May - October
Implementation of startup solutions in real environments


Open call for new Clusters, SMEs and challenges


The Programme ends with the Innovation Showcase, presenting the results of the applied solutions

Who it is for

Which startups can participate in this initiative?

Startups developing new technologies for the industrial sector and its related services, which have already completed their technological development. In other words, startups that have a product or solution that can be seen, demonstrated, tested and even already available on the market.

Startups no more than 8 years old, which make use of new technologies to improve industrial processes and that are ready to accelerate their business development.

Startups with disruptive solutions that can be applied to the Energy, Smart Industry, Environment and Automotive industries, including: artificial intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Computing, cybersecurity, machine vision, IoT, 3D printing – additive manufacturing, collaborative robotics, nanotechnology, new materials, augmented reality and virtual reality, among others.

// Advantages


Benefits for startups

  • Access to real projects with real turnover
  • Facilitate market access to innovative technologies
  • Rapid project implementation
  • Proximity to benchmark customers in the sector
  • Positioning and visibility
  • Maintenance of technology ownership
  • Counting on the successful BIND 4.0 model
  • Being part of the Basque Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
// FAQs

Solve your doubts

It is an initiative created to generate new opportunities for collaboration between SMEs and startups; opportunities based on a model of joint sectoral challenges posed between the participating SMEs.

Applications must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Each ODC will prepare a single application proposing a group of companies to participate.
  • These groups of companies must be made up of a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 SMEs.
  • Each working group can propose up to a maximum of 2 challenges. All SMEs in the working group must participate in the challenges, which means that no subgroups can be made within each ODC.
  • The applications (challenges) will have a specific structure, must meet standard requirements for all of them, and will be evaluated on the basis of a set of predefined criteria. For more details on this point, see sections 5 (Application structure) and 6 (Criteria for evaluating applications).
  • Those that meet the minimum quality criteria will be selected.

These are the characteristics that participating SMEs must meet:


  • SMEs associated with the ODCs that are members of the initiative.
  • SMEs external to the ODCs that have been accepted by the corresponding sectoral ODC to be included in its application.
  • SMEs linked to the BIND 4.0 verticals and/or to the areas of the Basque Country RIS 3 smart specialisation.
  • SMEs with at least one centre of activity in the Basque Country.
  • SMEs with less than 250 employees.
  • SMEs with interest in and commitment to working with the startups and that have the resources to provide sufficient dedication and involvement in the different activities of the initiative.
  • SMEs with sufficient technological maturity, or human resources trained for the process, who assign a person to be responsible for the programme and who commit to the different activities of the initiative

BIND SME Connection is mainly focused on the following startup profiles:

  • Startups that develop new innovative technologies applied to the industrial sector and its related services, or that have direct application in the production processes and/or services of the participating SMEs that have already completed their technological development, and that are in a position to finalise the configuration of their service/product. That is, that have a product or service that can be seen, tested, proven, or that is already available on the market.
  • Startups no more than 8 years old, proposing the use of new technologies to improve business processes, and that need to accelerate their business development.
  • Startups with application in the challenges proposed by the SMEs, and that are a fit with the specialisation sectors and opportunity areas of the Basque Country Specialisation Strategy.

Participating SMEs commit to:

  • Accept and comply with the terms and conditions of the initiative.
  • Attend and actively participate in the dynamics proposed in the initiative, and comply with the work and tasks defined.
  • Provide the required dedication for the development of the project once a collaboration contract between the SME and the startup has been signed.

The latter implies a minimum dedication of 40 hours in order to get involved and benefit from the programme, which implies a proactive participation in the programme and the work to be done internally in the organisation.  The minimum tasks and hours to be performed are as follows:

  • Launching + Identification and Characterisation of challenges = 12 hours
  • Analysis + Selection of startups = 8 hours
  • Matchmaking Sessions (Pitching + B2B Event with startups) = 10 hours
  • Other internal reflection work + Communication = 10 hours

Technology startups and SMEs will actively collaborate to create solutions capable of responding to the new challenges of the sector, through challenges created by SMEs through Cluster Development Organisations.

Request here

If you are interested in participating as a startup or lead company, please complete the form below and we will contact you soon

BIND 4.0 SME Connection gives startups from all over the world the opportunity to present their solutions to the technological challenges of Basque companies in the same sector of activity

  • SPRI-Basque Business Development Agency, as data controller, collects your personal data for the provision of services related to our programmes and services. You are entitled to withdraw your consent at any time, object to the processing, access, rectify and delete your data, as well as other rights, by sending an e-mail to the address You can also find the additional and detailed information on Data Protection in the Privacy Policy section. By clicking "Send" you consent to the processing of your data in the terms indicated.

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Basque company customer service line

Call us at: 900 929 393

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