Basque Industrial Exploration: Fostering Collaboration and Innovation

Submitted by Nadja Dehne on 21 November 2023


From November 13th to 15th, 2023, the EXCITE consortium, including the cluster organizations MCICT, Pole SCS, Business Hive Vilnius, and Silicon Saxony, embarked on a mission to delve into the home of cluster partner GAIA – the Basque Country's industrial landscape. This expedition aimed to immerse participants in the region's innovation ecosystem, focusing on advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, and digitalization. Two SMEs joined the consortium on the fact-finding mission. (City & Me from Serbia & Steinbeis Europa Zentrum from Germany)

A Customized Experience

Spanning three days, this mission offered a unique chance for participants to interact with leading Basque companies and to absorb the region's vibrant innovation scene. The program included company showcases, insightful presentations, and informative site visits, emphasizing advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, and digital solutions to provide a comprehensive experience.

Day 1 & 2: Basque Open Industry - A Collaborative Platform

The first two days were filled with various activities within the framework of the "Basque Open Industry" event. This included tailored B2B meetings, an exhibition featuring more than 150 exhibitors, and visits to members and stakeholders of GAIA, including members of their CYBASQUE sub-cluster. A presentation on the Basque EDIH (BDIH), focusing on themes such as smart and connected machines, digital electricity networks, additive manufacturing, flexible robotics, medical devices and digital health, advanced materials, data-driven solutions, and cybersecurity, was also part of the program.

Day 3: Exploring Innovations and Excellence

The final day of the mission encompassed the SME Assembly and the Europe Enterprise Network (EEN) Conference. This event provided a unique opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises to network with potential partners and investors, gaining insights into the latest industry trends and technologies. Furthermore, a visit to Bilbao AS Fabrik (Advanced Services Fabrik) – an innovative and reference ecosystem in the field of advanced services for Industry 4.0 and the digital economy – was organized for interested participants.

The Basque Country as an Industrial Region

The Basque Country, also known as Euskadi, is a highly industrialized region contributing 22.8% to the gross domestic product (GDP). With a strong focus on the manufacturing sector accounting for 23% of the economy, it spans automotive, aeronautics, environment, industrial design, and engineering. With a productivity rate of 128.5% compared to EU28=100, the Basque Country stands among the regions with the highest productivity rates in Europe.

The mission facilitated an exchange of knowledge and innovative practices, strengthening ties between European cluster organizations and Basque industry players. Thank you to our host GAIA for the perfect preparation and execution of the mission. We will be back!


EXCITE aims to strengthen cluster management and facilitate exchange and strategic partnership between cluster staff and cluster members by using the ClusterXchange system. ClusterXchange is a new pilot project to promote short-term exchanges to better connect industrial ecosystems in Europe. The project will focus on skills, processes and services related to digital transformation - both in terms of the cluster organisation itself and its members, to be able to support them in successfully accessing global markets.

Your advantage as company, cluster or scale-up organisation:As a participant in the organised business delegations, you will not only get to know innovative regions, take part in renowned events and individual B2B meetings free of charge, but also receive financial support to offset your travel costs.

Project Duration: 01.02.2022 – 31.01.2024

Project partners:

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