The key is to undertake and innovate locally

We frequently relate the creation of successful companies and the kick-starting of innovative projects with far-away places, like Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Boston or Vancouver. The cinema and TV contribute to feeding the image of successful young people who make their business ideas reality in garages and warehouses, from where you can only climb upwards, propelled by the strength of genius concepts and a lot of work.

The reality shows that this is not the case, not always. The process of globalization causes innovative initiatives to emerge in spaces and place where, less than a decade ago it seemed impossible.

This is coming true in the whole University district of the University of Salamanca. For example, in Zamora, where initiatives are being taken for the kick-starting of entrepreneurship projects.

Also in Béjar, whose Engineering School has been set up one year ago in a Hub space in order to accommodate students and graduates who want to start their own business adventure.

This also happened in Ávila where those that are the most enterprising have a space of this type at their disposal, and as in the case of Béjar, they usually remain for a few months.

What about Salamanca?

In our city we are witnessing a structural evolution of companies which introduces changes to the productive model, accentuating knowledge and its use. This process accelerates with time and feeds itself. In the University of Slamanca we can verify this, because in the Villamayor Scientific Park more companies are getting installed every month. Mainly, they are newly created companies and those that have been born out of the initiative of USAL’s graduates.

Behind this phenomenon there are complex, but easy to understand, processes. Knowledge has become the main value of markets, above primary materials, warehouses and offices, distribution channels and marketing.  It doesn’t substitute any of them but it nourishes them and allows many new businesses which are being created to not mortgage their future on costly facilities, on importing sophisticated equipment items or forming part of exclusive trade networks. For this reason, a high entrepreneurial percentage is concentrated on ICT, or rightly, makes communications the key of their business model.

However, the good ideas emerge come in a spontaneous way through inspiration. We lack a basis over which to create a company structure. Even before investment, work and a business plan is the training.

This is where universities come into play as shapers of qualified professionals in all areas of knowledge, not forgetting the role we play in basic and applied research.

We are on the right way. A few weeks ago, an initiative of Salamanca’s Council was made known, their plan is to kick-start a program that attracts talent, with the aim of financing the work of five young researchers who are in conditions of leading work groups and developing I+D projects in periods of three years. This initiative, which is backed by Fecyt and a group of evaluators led by Mariano Barbacid, it is a clear and brave commitment to making Salamanca the head of the cities in which research is fostered.

It is clear that the creation of businesses and entrepreneurship does not exclusively happen in big cities. And that Salamanca, Zamora, Ávila and Béjar create interesting conditions for those who graduate in our University and have the possibility to launch the development of entrepreneurial projects, although this does not mean that we have to put aside proposals from big, multinational and national companies that are also interested in settling here.

This is why it is good to pay attention to what is happening and what is to come and not letting any opportunity pass by. By the way, the deadline for eligibility for the aids is the 30th of September.



Juan Manuel Corchado

Full Professor in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, Department of Computer Science and Automation, University of Salamanca, Spain.


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