Basque technology park network chairman at Forum Europa
Basque technology park network chairman Francisco Berjón announced earlier today that the network had clocked up turnover of €3,500 million in 2009. Berjón made the announcement during a speech at a new economic forum, adding that firms at the parks had "weathered the crisis pretty well" and had shown that they were better prepared and "less vulnerable" in a complicated economic situation. According to the figures revealed by Berjón, the technology parks in Alava, Vizcaya, San Sebastián and the Garaia Innovation Centre at present provided a home to more than 400 businesses, with almost 14,000 employees. Compared with the figures from the previous year, the data showed the number of firms at the parks had risen 3 per cent and that job levels had remained stable. Berjón also described the technology parks as a "magnificent setting for creating new businesses" and noted that 70 per cent of all companies settled at Basque technology parks had only recently been set up.
Berjón went on to say that although expenditure on R&D in 2009 by firms housed at the parks fell by 2 per cent from the previous year's level, "investment in R&D was still above 10 per cent of turnover." Berjón also said that R&D staff levels as a whole, the university and technology centre cooperation projects implemented and the number of patents had all increased, which, as he noted, showed that "innovation is still the main goal of companies at the parks in their individual competitive races and that park-based firms were much more innovative than the average.
To conclude, Berjón stressed that, under the guidelines laid down by the Basque government and the Basque development agency SPRI, the technology park network was helping Basque firms to resist the impact of the crisis, to improve their ability to compete by stepping up their innovation-intense profile and developing international cooperation networks so firms involved would be in a position to lead such processes in the future. Furthermore, the Alava, Vizcaya and San Sebastián technology parks would be investing €67 million on infrastructures in 2010.