Visit of European partners to Basque Country under EXCITE exchanges

Submitted by Cristina Murillo on 21 November 2023


From November 13th to 15th, 2023, the EXCITE consortium, comprised of MCICT, Pole SCS, Business Hive Vilnius, and Silicon Saxony, conducted a mission to explore the industrial landscape of the Basque Country, home to their cluster partner GAIA. This initiative aimed to immerse participants in the region's innovation ecosystem, with a focus on advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, and digitalization. Two SMEs, City & Me from Serbia and Steinbeis Europa Zentrum from Germany, joined the consortium for this fact-finding expedition.

The three-day mission provided a unique opportunity for participants to engage with leading Basque companies and experience the region's dynamic innovation scene. The agenda featured company showcases, informative presentations, and site visits that emphasized advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, and digital solutions.

During the first two days, activities were organized under the "Basque Open Industry" event, including tailored B2B meetings, an exhibition with over 150 exhibitors, and visits to GAIA members and stakeholders, including the CYBASQUE sub-cluster. A presentation on the Basque European Digital Innovation Hub (BDIH) covered topics such as smart machines, digital electricity networks, additive manufacturing, flexible robotics, medical devices, digital health, advanced materials, data-driven solutions, and cybersecurity.

The third day included the SME Assembly and the Europe Enterprise Network (EEN) Conference, offering SMEs a platform to network with potential partners and investors, and gain insights into industry trends and technologies. Participants also visited Bilbao AS Fabrik, an innovative ecosystem in advanced services for Industry 4.0 and the digital economy.

The Basque Country, contributing 22.8% to the GDP, is a highly industrialized region with a strong focus on manufacturing, accounting for 23% of its economy. The mission facilitated knowledge exchange and the sharing of innovative practices, strengthening ties between European cluster organizations and Basque industry players.

The EXCITE project aims to enhance cluster management, fostering exchange and strategic partnerships through the ClusterXchange system. This pilot project promotes short-term exchanges to connect European industrial ecosystems, focusing on skills, processes, and services related to digital transformation. The project, spanning from February 1, 2022, to January 31, 2024, involves partners such as Silicon Saxony, Business Hive Vilnius Cluster, GAIA, Mazovia Cluster ICT, Pôle SCS, and serves to support participants in accessing global markets by providing financial assistance for travel costs.

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