05.07.2019

Connecting Spain and Asia through public diplomacy

At Casa Asia, the participants in the Programme learned about the institution and heard about two entrepreneurship success stories.

The Indian Leaders visited Casa Asia Barcelona in the city’s 22@ District. The institution, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and part of the Spain-India Council Foundation’s Board of Trustees, was created in 2001 with the purpose of contributing to a better understanding and strengthening Spain’s relations with Asia-Pacific countries.

Amadeo Jensana, Head of the Economy and Business department at Casa Asia, welcomed the Leaders and talked them through the development of the institution, “a public diplomacy body aiming to connect Spain with Asian countries”, such as India, through a number of activities and programmes.

The meeting at Casa Asia was also attended by two entrepreneurship experts: Ricard Garriga, founder of Trioteca and Menorca Millennials - Decelera (the first startup “decelerator”), and Pablo Valderrama, Head of Business Development at 3D Factory Barcelona, an incubator specialising in 3D printing.

Their accounts of their experiences provided the Leaders a practical example of the innovation ecosystem in Spain and Europe. Ricard Garriga is an entrepreneur who has developed several tech companies in Spain and Silicon Valley. The most recent one, Trioteca, is devoted to providing information on the mortgage process and the banks offering mortgages in Spain. Garriga witnessed the extraordinary development of the entrepreneurial sector in Barcelona first-hand: “12 or 15 years ago it was complicated to do business if you said you were from Barcelona, because people associated the city with sun and paella. Now it’s quite different: many companies have been created, some of them quite successful, such as Glovo and Cabify, and people wonder what’s going on with Barcelona. That’s why many venture capital investors come here.” He added that the most important thing is for a city “to have success stories. That attracts more interest and more investors to it.”.

Pablo Valderrama talked about the 3D Factory Incubator, a public initiative developed by the Barcelona Free Trade Zone Consortium and Fundación Leitat “aimed to incubate 100 initiatives (startups and spin-offs) in some way related to 3D printing: software, materials, printing services, hardware, new apps and so on.”

So far, the project has fostered 21 initiatives from different industries (healthcare, mobility, software development, consumer goods) that benefit from several benefits of the hub, from general services (internet, IT and so on) to specialised IT services such as access to “six different kinds of 3D printers and a 2 million euro investment in lab materials. We can print plastics, resins, metals, tin and more.”

The initiative, he said, is “part of a larger project, DFactoryBcn, which will have the most advanced labs for this technology” to “turn Barcelona into a European benchmark for 3D printing.”

Report: 7th Indian Leaders Programme 2019

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