- It will embrace companies, start-ups, Ph.D. students and researchers; and it will encourage participation in State Ports Funds 4.0., whose content has been made known in the Port community.
- This hub is to improve the Port’s competitiveness and complements other Basque innovation programmes as well as fitting in with the Port Authority Strategic Plan.
- It will have a working group comprising, among other entities, the Autonomous Basque Government, the SPRI, the Territorial Council of Biscay, the riverside towns, the BBK Trust, financial entities, Mondragon University and Tecnalia, in addition to the Port Authority itself and the Bilbao Port Community.
At a meeting attended by some hundred Port Community companies, the Port Authority of Bilbao (PAB) inaugurated Bilbao Port Lab, its own hub for innovation and research, while at the same time informing of the conditions of State Ports Funds 4.0., whose first call will be made this summer.
The Chairman of the Port Authority, Ricardo Barkala, the Basque Government Vice Minister for Technology, Innovation and Competitiveness, Estibaliz Hernáez and the Director of the Innovation Area of Spanish State Ports, José Llorca, took part in the inauguration.
Bilbao Port Lab aims to be a space which brings together the needs identified by the Port Community companies to move towards a Ports 4.0 model with ideas and plans for entrepreneurs, start-ups, Ph.D. students and researchers to develop. It will enable State Ports Funds 4.0., which has 20 million euros available, to subsidise projects for the Spanish state ports system, in coordination with the different Basque Government and Territorial Council of Biscay programmes for aids to innovation and enterprise.
The space granted by the Port Authority occupies 200 m2 in the Zubia Building on Dock A2 of the Port of Bilbao Extension, very near to the Port Authority offices in Santurtzi. One space is dedicated to co-working for start-ups, another for carrying out demonstrations, presentations and conferences and a zone prepared for customer and supplier visits.
In addition, the Port Authority will assign 400,000 euros to reinforce, either with capital or through loans, projects of special port interest.
With this centre for the competitive improvement of the Port, the PAB wishes to help boost an innovating and research environment and climate by facilitating the necessary means so that ideas and projects offering real logistics-port solutions to the sector can prosper. Furthermore, the initiative fits in with its Strategic Plan to make the Port a reference for innovation and digitalisation.
In the same way, Bilbao Port Lab is complemented by other Basque innovation learning and enterprising programmes which it will seek synergies with. To achieve this, it will be integrated in the Port and River of Bilbao Foundation, which will create a working group to boost and coordinate the centre. Among other entities, the Basque Government, the SPRI Group (the Basque Government Agency for Company Development), the Biscay Territorial Council, the Riverside town councils, the BBK Trust, financial entities, the University of Mondragon and Tecnalia, besides the Port Authority and companies from the Bilbao Port Community will collaborate with this team.
Ports Funds 4.0.
The aim of Fund 4.0. – administered by Spanish State Ports – is to encourage innovation in the logistics- port community by enabling the development of innovating projects, as well as start-ups and entrepreneurs in the sector. The fund has 25 million euros, to which all the Port Authorities in the system – including Bilbao-will contribute 1% equivalent of their cash flow over the next four years. The Port Authority of Bilbao will have to contribute 1.5 million euros to that total.
Each company or project selected will receive a fixed quantity of 15,000 euros for ideas or start-ups in the initial or emergent stage, between a minimum of 50,000 and maximum of 1000,000 euros for start-ups or spin-offs in the development stage for innovative products at the pre-commercial stage, and up to a minimum amount of 100,000 euros and a maximum of 2,000,000 for start-ups or spin-offs in the scaling or commercial stage. The projects and ideas can be based on four themes: logistics efficiency in the infrastructures, operational or service provision fields; digitalisation of processes and intelligent platforms; environmental and energy sustainability; and safety and protection.
The Port Authority is sure that Bilbao Port Lab will help to encourage businesses and start-ups from Euskadi (the Basque Country) to identify ideas and projects for this first call from Fund 4.0.and improve the competitiveness of what is the leading port on the Atlantic Arc.