One of the great challenges that Madrid faces today is to support digitization and sustainability as a lever for reactivation and innovation in the region. This is one of the first conclusions of the report “Radiography of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Madrid”, prepared by MIDE Madrid Innovation Driven Ecosystem) in collaboration with Impact Hub and the Polytechnic University of Madrid.
The report derives 10 recommendations to empower the community as hub of entrepreneurship and international innovation. In fact, the Community of Madrid is the region where workers have more interactions in professional networks, high levels of productivity and a powerful network of infrastructures. You still have a clear chance at talent retention.
“Innovation is based on creating value through the development of ideas and their commercialization, but it is a double-sided coin: on the one hand it creates value and on the other it assumes risks”. This statement of Bill Aulet, Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, it can also be applied to cities like Madrid.
Alberto Rodriguez, president and co-founder of The CUBE, and Marta Gil, General Director of Strategy, Innovation and Sustainability at Sacyr, have been responsible for presenting the main data of this report, accompanied by Álvaro Bernad, CEO of MIDE, who has pointed out that “2021 is a year of change and opportunities, it represents a transition between the profound global slowdown experienced, with a stage of economic growth that will redefine the relationship models of the future. That is why it is so important to re-understand the challenges we face and begin to build on the opportunities we identify ”.
According to the report, one of the main challenges Madrid faces as a global entrepreneurship hub is that, although it occupies the first places in the European rankings As the most attractive city for tech startups and entrepreneurs, it still needs to generate enough connections between the different agents to maximize its impact.
Despite the severe blow that COVID-19 has caused, it must be built on the strengths of the region, which are many. MIDE has identified five areas of action that emerge from the analysis: digitization and sustainability as a lever for economic reactivation and innovation; the participation of SMEs and startups in public-private cooperation projects; collaboration in the ecosystem; the physical and digital infrastructure of the ecosystem, and the entrepreneurial culture.
Madrid has a great concentration of actors, in addition to a very wide network of infrastructures available between universities, research institutes, science parks, technology platforms, business schools and numerous business incubators. accelerators and entrepreneurship hubs. This large dimension generates the need to establish coordination or management mechanisms to ensure optimal use.
Innovation attraction poles
Although much remains to be done, the report highlights how the city of Madrid has already taken quite a few steps, as it is one of the poles of attraction for innovation, thanks, among other factors, to the high level of qualification of its population and to being the headquarters of 21 of the 35 Spanish companies of the Ibex 35. Not to mention its quality of life, since it is considered one of the 3 preferred cities for expatriates to live in, its strategic location and its relevant infrastructure, which make it an interesting point of connection with European markets, the Middle East and from Latin America, taking advantage of the cultural and idiomatic connection.
Regarding innovation, it is worth highlighting the worrying drop in the perception of Spain as an innovative country after the pandemic, which has become for the first time among the least advanced countries of the EU. Luckily, the Community of Madrid once again maintains the first position in the COTEC Talent index, presenting a favorable market and business environment, since it is the region where workers have more interactions in professional networks, high levels of productivity and a powerful network of infrastructures. The problem is in the retention of that talent, so it is vital to promote equal opportunities for women and improve the regulatory environment.
Madrid occupies the second place in investment in R&D with respect to GDP, only surpassed by the Basque country, but well above the national average (1.25%). In fact, the level of investment in Madrid (1.97%) is similar to that of countries such as the United Kingdom and is above other nearby countries such as Italy.
The main recommendations extracted from the ‘2nd X-ray of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Madrid’ are:
- Create and develop an umbrella brand to boost the visibility of Madrid as an innovative and entrepreneurial capital.
- Launch a “Madrid’s innovation passport ”.
- Create a physical space of reference in an emblematic setting, which will serve as Madrid’s letter of introduction on a global level.
- Creation of a Innovation and Entrepreneurship Councilin which ALL the agents of the ecosystem are represented.
- Promote the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Speak positive. Avoid persistent criticism.
- Promote diversity, from all angles. Madrid has not only to attract talent, but also has to be able to retain it.
- Make Madrid a benchmark for sustainability.
- Encourage innovation and entrepreneurship with fiscal measures that impact both investment and research development.
- Of course, the financing. Improvements are needed in the channeling of European public funds and this will be achieved with consensus and generating synergies between the different actors.