A “mixed”, “participative”, “multi-channel” model that does not give up connecting the entrepreneurial ecosystem despite the circumstances. Or precisely because of them. With a message “of optimism” the head of South Summit 2020, Maria Benjumea, has opened this Monday the seventh edition of the contest of entrepreneurship and innovation. Between 6 and 8 October, the 100 finalist startups will go through the meetings with different actors and investors in the global startup ecosystem.
This is “the year of the coronavirus”, began Benjumea, but our antagonist also “teaches us that things can be done despite the difficulties. That’s what South Summit is for, and this year “much more. With the format of remote connections, the event will bring together from anywhere in the world all the actors in the sector, to show that we can get out of the crises, and that the way to fight the pandemic is “creating”.
In the opinion of the founder of this “connection platform”, to really get out of the health crisis “we all have to work, regardless of the colors”. Because all together with a common adversary we not only get out of the crisis, as always, but we get out reinforced, “we grow together”, she has valued. “This new South Summit will be a hundred times better and we will connect with all the people who are in it to do business”.
The Mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, has added to this message of “hope” and has used this adjective to define this edition. As he said, this event is an example that “when we unite we are all capable of recovering the future that this pandemic has stolen from us”. And he added: “It marks out the future and the path, how we have to move forward,” which is thanks to “institutional collaboration and trust in society.
For her part, the Third Vice President of the Government and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, closed the inauguration. She did so by taking the word “resilience” mentioned by the private partners to “define” this edition. This is the “spirit that guides us today and that should lead us to leave as soon as possible the extraordinary situation that we have lived”, she defended.
South Summit 2020
Nadia Calviño, during her speech this Monday at the opening of the South Summit 2020.
Calviño congratulated the hundred or so finalist startups, as they represent an example of the public-private collaboration so necessary to take advantage of future opportunities. In his opinion, the Administration has to safeguard fundamental rights, and the action of the private sector is what must sustain the “investment” of the innovative process. Spain faces the challenges of digitalization with the precedent of the pandemic, where society has been aware of the role of technologies in our lives.
And while the investments of recent years allow us to face these challenges from an “advantageous” position, we also need to make “significant progress” in those areas where “we may be less strong”, warned the Socialist Member of Parliament.
On the one hand, strengthen the capacity to scale up our companies: “We have a vibrant ecosystem but we are below countries in our environment when it comes to scaling up”, the minister stressed. On the other hand, gender equality (with barely 15% of startups led by women). “We can not despise 50% of the talent in our society”.
In addition, the holder of the digital economy and transformation portfolio has closed her speech expressing “the unique opportunity” that European funds provide. A support that allows the digitalization process, accelerated by the pandemic, to cover the “territorial and social” deficiencies of Spain. The new initiatives in the area of innovation and digitalization will be channeled within the Spain Digital Agenda 2025.
It will include some 50 measures, “beneficiaries of this European funding”, as Calviño has detailed. A framework that will serve to underpin the leadership of 5G in Europe, the digital competencies of workers, cyber-security, business and government digitalization and the European platform for attracting talent, among other aspects.
It will also support the Law on Startups, which works to “recognize its specificity” in terms of funding and growth with offices of access to European aid. “We have a flexible, progressive, proactive and adaptable society, and a vibrant startup ecosystem, which is well represented here today at the South Summit. So I am very confident that next year we can look forward to the progress that will come in the next 12 months,” she concluded.