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President reaffirms commitment to the growth of economic activity in 2024 at the inauguration of Basque Open Industry

2023 November 13
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  • Framed within the European SME Week and under the slogan “Let's meet in Innovation Land”, Basque Open Industry shows Europe the power of industry in the Basque Country
  • Urkullu: “The draft budget for 2024 maintains the impetus for economic activity — more than 850 million euros to boost the Basque economy as a whole; 2 billion euros for public investment and another 700 million for investment in Science, Technology and Innovation; an ambitious project to respond to today’s needs and face the challenges of tomorrow with guarantees.”

An important representation of the most innovative Basque industry in the Basque Country meet on November 13 and 14 at Basque Open Industry. The European SME Week attracts several international events to the Bilbao Exhibition Centre (BEC), including this event that will serve as a showcase of the power of Basque industry.

The President, Iñigo Urkullu, chaired the opening ceremony of Basque Open Industry. In his speech, the President highlighted the industrial fabric of the Basque Country: “a broad and diversified industrial fabric, with a great capacity for resilience.” The President said that the Basque Country is an innovative territory, a country that is consolidated in the group of "Strong Innovators" alongside countries such as Germany, Austria and France, exceeding the European average.

The President stressed that the Basque Country has a shared industrial and economic strategy that allows it to respond to the challenges of the future effectively from the model of public-private collaboration.

Finally, referring to the draft budget for 2024, Urkullu reaffirmed the double commitment of the Basque Government to promote economic growth and guarantee essential public services within a framework of certainty and sustainability. “A budget to respond to current needs and to face the challenges of tomorrow with guarantees; a project that maintains the momentum of economic activity, allocating 850 million euros to the promotion of the Basque economy as a whole, reaching for the first time 2 billion euros in public investment and allocating 700 million to investment in Science, Technology and Innovation,” he concluded.

A wide and diverse offer in Basque Open Industry

BOI will not only serve to demonstrate the capabilities of Basque industry to the representatives of European organizations. It will also offer SMEs the opportunity to learn about the different aids to the industrial sector, to test and validate technologies, to learn about support for internationalisation and, in general, trends in a wide variety of areas, ranging from everything related to talent to digital, energy and environmental transitions. For this, the BOI programme includes 150 headliners, with presentations by specialists and a hundred exhibitors. In addition, meetings between companies have been organised to encourage networking among them.

Among the thirty or so lectures given at the BEC over the two days, the most important was by Tom TerBush, Vice President of Technical Services and Members of EPRI Electric Power Research Institute) and president of EPRI International. At the inaugural conference he provided details of how decarbonisation presents an opportunity to generate new industry. There were more expert voices at the BOI, among round tables and colloquiums that presented the latest trends in the field of talent, artificial intelligence, industrial cybersecurity, digital transition and energy and environmental Transition.

This is an important part, and one that is valued by the companies. It is the interconnections created between participating companies. For this purpose, an app has been enabled (called Networking Land) that facilitates exchanges, so that Basque SMEs were easily able to access exhibitors and make appointments in advance with cybersecurity companies, startups and tractor companies of the BIND 4.0 programme, technology centres of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance (BRTA), and many more.

This was a kind of live observation point for the latest trends in advanced manufacturing and emerging applications of Basque smart industry. In terms of internationalisation, Basque SMEs interested in accelerating their international expansion had at their fingertips the SPRI Group's Foreign Network with its own stands offering information. Thus, 18 offices of the SPRI Group’s Foreign Network, coordinated by the Basque internationalisation agency, Basque Trade & Investment (BTI), were represented. It has the capacity to reach 90 countries.

Entrepreneurship had an important place with stands dedicated to leading startups in the Basque Country and linked to the BIND 4.0 programme, which has accelerated almost 200 projects thanks to connections with other Basque companies of different sizes and industrial sectors.  It was possible to contact their promoters to learn about the solutions they propose for the industrial sector, which can be incorporated into the Basque business fabric.

Another important space was the industrial cybersecurity stand, where the Basque Country is well positioned around an ecosystem that offers advanced solutions in this area. There was a specific area dedicated to companies specialised in this field.

SME Week 2023

The European SME Week will continue on subsequent days with other events with an international bias. The celebration of the SME Assembly between 14 and 15 November will be the most important event for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe.

In addition, the annual conference of the Europe Enterprise Network — EEN — will take place between 15 and 17 November. It is the world's largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises, active all over the world and bringing together experts from organisations recognised for their excellence in business support.

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Politicians attending the event