Congratulations are in order for our partner, the City of Zaragoza in northern Spain, which completed a key milestone in the city’s transformation to an information economy. Centro de Incubación Empresarial (CIEM) a 2,000 sq meter facility opened this month to house up to 30 young companies building businesses in information and green technology and alternative energy.
Designed to be a zero emission building, the center was conceived in response to the economic crisis that hit Spain in 2009. I was in Zaragoza less than two years ago when city leaders proposed the incubator as a means of fostering startups and creating new, high-value jobs in the region. The city broke ground for the facility last May and opened its doors less than 10 months later. The quick pace from conception to completion gives one hope that governments can move decisively and quickly when opportunity avails itself, and Mayor Belloch and his team should be congratulated for the vision and will to get the job done.
CIEM will be managed by another visionary institution in Zaragoza, the City of Knowledge Foundation, managed by my friend Ricardo Pedrol. The Foundation was conceived by the Belloch administration as the instrument to create and engage with innovative programs that advanced the city’s quest to embrace information technology and entrepreneurship as a new economic driver. By empowering the Foundation to act on new innovation initiatives, the city can move quickly to institute new programs without getting bogged down in political squabbles.
While CIEM will focus initially on housing and supporting local and regional companies, the broader vision for the Center is to serve as an incubator for Spanish companies generally, and ultimately as a gateway for companies outside of Spain seeking to move into the Spanish market. For entrepreneurs in the Guidewire Group network, CIEM becomes an important node in global network of organizations supporting the global ambitions of startups. Just as Guidewire Group’s Studio G is a “soft landing” for companies making forays into Silicon Valley, CIEM will become a landing zone for U.S. companies seeking to enter the Spanish and European market.
Guidewire Group has enjoyed a long relationship with the City of Zaragoza, which played host to our Innovate! conference series since 2005, and which helped us transform our model into a business acceleration program that enables foreign Economic Development Agencies to support their entrepreneurs with a greater global understanding of the innovation ecosystem. In fact, Guidewire Group will return to Zaragoza the week of June 20, 2011 for an intensive week of Studio G workshops.
I’m looking forward to our return to Zaragoza and exploring this important new facility.
For more information about CIEM, Contact Ricardo Pedrol