Constant innovation should be one of the objectives of every company, regardless of its area of activity or size. Technology helps us face new challenges and improve production processes, the digitisation of management or the creation of new products.

 The Castilla y León Food Industry Association, Vitartis, is aware of what business innovation means. Therefore, it strives to ensure that companies in our region increase their competitiveness through the application of disruptive techniques.

Thus, within the framework of the VENCER project, they have created the “OPEN INNOVATION” programme, which seeks to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector of Castilla y León in order to overcome the crisis caused by Covid-19. The initiative presents several challenges proposed by Vitartis partners to be solved by local entrepreneurs or start-ups.

The focus is to find solutions through the use of digital and management technologies, development of new food products and natural preservatives.


For now, six challenges have been proposed by the companies Dulces y Conservas Helios, INNOPORC, Pharmadus Botanicals Sl, PISTACYL, Viveros Campiñas, Santa Teresa. However, more challenges will be included in the coming days.

Helios Challenge: natural preservatives that extend the shelf life of fruit-based products (Ph<4) by protecting them against the development of spoilage microorganisms such as moulds and yeasts.

INNOPORC Challenge: technological solution to improve animal welfare in the farrowing crates by measuring environmental parameters and those of the animals themselves.

Pharmadus Botanicals Challenge: software to integrate the online sales process of any platform with the organisation’s system, centralising the entire process, adapting to any market place and also generating analysis and activity metrics.

PISTACYL Challenge: formulation of a healthy food supplement for sportsmen and women and the elderly based on pistachio flour (with the oil previously removed).

Viveros Campiñas Challenge: amplification of the received mobile phone signal, both voice and data (2G/3G/4G), so that there are no cuts or loss of signal quality.

Santa Teresa Challenge: Management tool to optimise palletisation of orders, preventing warehouse staff from having to optimise the available space by trial and error.

Go to to learn more about the programme rules and the characteristics of each challenge.

We encourage you to participate! You must submit your proposal between 1 April and 1 July 2021.

Posted by Juan M. Corchado

Juan Manuel Corchado (15 May 1971, Salamanca, Spain) is Professor at the University of Salamanca. He has been Vice-Rector for Research from 2013 to 2017 and Director of the Science Park of the University of Salamanca. Elected as Dean of the Faculty of Science twice, he holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Salamanca and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from the University of the West of Scotland. He leads the renowned BISITE (Bioinformatics, Intelligent Systems and Educational Technology) Research Group, created in 2000. Director of the IoT Digital Innovation Hub and President of the AIR Institute, J. M. Corchado is also Visiting Professor at the Osaka Institute of Technology since January 2015, Visiting Professor at the Universiti Malaysia Kelantan and Member of the Advisory Group on Online Terrorist Propaganda of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (EUROPOL). J. M. Corchado has been president of the IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society, and academic coordinator of the University Institute for Research in Art and Animation Technology at the University of Salamanca, as well as researcher at the Universities of Paisley (UK), Vigo (Spain) and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK). He currently combines all his activity with the direction of Master programmes in Security, Digital Animation, Mobile Telephony, Information Systems Management, Internet of Things, Social Media, 3D Design and Printing, Blockchain, Z System, Industry 4.0, Agile Project Management, and Smart Cities & Intelligent Buildings, at the University of Salamanca and his work as editor-in-chief of the journals ADCAIJ (Advances in Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence Journal), OJCST (Oriental Journal of Computer Science and Technology) or Electronics MDPI (Computer Science & Engineering section). J. M. Corchado mainly works on projects related to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, IoT, Fog Computing, Edge Computing, Smart Cities, Smart Grids and Sentiment Analysis. He has recently been included in the board of trustees of the AstraZeneca Foundation, along with other health professionals and researchers recognised for bringing scientific knowledge closer to society.