Startup Olé launches European Rural ReInA initiative
We are currently living in two versions of Europe, on one hand, there is a thriving urban one, with big cities such as Madrid, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Milan, etc., and on the other hand there is rural Europe, depopulated and lacking in possibilities, in a continuous decline and without horizon or prosperous future.
In view of this situation, the new European initiative ReInA (Rural European Innovation Area) was created to reduce the gap between the two 'worlds' with the aim of providing resources, attracting investment, generating projects and creating employment in rural areas. The aim is to bring together relevant actors of the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem such as investment funds, corporations, public institutions, local governments, county councils and universities with, on the other hand, startups, innovative SMEs, local action groups and all kinds of rural platforms.
The ultimate goal is to generate a greater number of projects and synergies that generate wealth in rural areas in order to promote job creation, reverse depopulation, ensuring a better quality of life and services for the inhabitants of these areas with special emphasis on health-tele-medicine, education, content, security, accessibility, connectivity, digital training, etc. ReInA is focused on the creation of a European Rural Innovation Area becoming the loudspeaker of the rural environment, boosting its development, growth, business and natural resources, through a fair, green and sustainable management, working both in classic verticals related to the rural environment such as agriculture, livestock, tourism, crafts, etc, and other sectors that develop and take place in rural areas such as energy, sustainability, water, circular economy, mining, industry, mobility, logistics/retail, etc.
In terms of technologies, artificial intelligence (deep-tech), drones, robotics, and blockchain, are necessary and important to automate many repetitive tasks in the rural environment, facilitating the traceability of processes or helping to have safer spaces in which to set up businesses.
ReInA is an initiative launched by the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Ms. Mariya Gabriel and Startup OLÉ. It is also part of the global initiative European Innovation Area, launched by the European Commissioner.
This initiative has a wide range of outstanding collaborators such as the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Enagás, Enisa, Guardia Civil, Grupo Tragsa, Amazon Web Services, Impulsa Visión RTVE, Fundación ONCE, Cruz Roja together with Fundación Tecnologías Sociales (TECSOS), Cabify, Ship2B Foundation, Asociación Española de Startups (AES), Startup Portugal, InnMind, Axon Partners Group, Encomenda Smart Capital, Grupo Sego Finance, SociosInversores, Ship2B Ventures, AC ventures (ACV_VC), EIT Food, SVG Ventures|THRIVE, Grow Remote, Fundación Guifi.net, The Research Institute of Sweden (RISE), IE Business School, NUI Galway, Innovhub SSI, Business Development Institute (iED), Community and Rural Research Institute (CCRI), Ministry of Programming, Agrotech Spain, Plačiajuostis Internetas, Larnaca & Famagusta Districts Development Agency, ADEZOS, ADRISS Sierras de Salamanca, ADECOAR, ADECO BUREBA, Elcampus360, European Association of Leaders for Rural Development (ELARD), International Institute for Intrapreneurship and the Provincial Councils of Salamanca, Burgos, Córdoba and Huelva.
The first concrete action of ReInA will take place on 6th-7th April 2021 with a launch event followed by a matchmaking activity, i.e. a day of 1-to-1 meetings between startups, innovative SMEs and local action groups with investors, institutions and corporations. All this will be done in digital format. These activities will continue over time, with the second date for concrete actions being the celebration of Startup OLÉ 2021 in Salamanca, from 8th to 10th September 2021.
During the first day of the launch event, a series of activities will take place with high-level content and speakers, including welcome acts, round tables, talks, as well as the official presentation of the REInA community Manifesto, which has a large number of adherents to date. The event will be opened by the Rector of the University of Salamanca, Mr Ricardo Rivero, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Ms Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Janusz Wojciechowski and the Chairman of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy of the European Parliament, Mr Cristian-Silviu Buşoi.
The event will be closed by the European Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Ms Dubravka Šuica. Several MEPs will also participate in the event, such as the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Member of the European Parliament, Ms. Mazyla Aguilar, the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education, Member of the European Parliament, Mr. Victor Negrescu, and Ms. Cristina Maestre, Member of the Committee on Regional Development, Member of the European Parliament. Professor of the University of Salamanca and Founder and CEO of Startup Olé will act as Master of Ceremonies.
In terms of content, relevant topics and aspects in the field of rural innovation will be discussed, such as: new opportunities for rural innovation communities: rural outsourcing, technology companies, creative and cultural industries; what the European Union and other international institutions are doing for innovation in rural communities, including coastal areas; disruptive technologies for rural innovation: drones, innovative connectivity solutions; services for the wellbeing of rural dwellers provided by rural innovation ecosystems; modern bioeconomy sectors for rural innovation; agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries for a modern and innovative rural community; how to develop rural innovation ecosystems, including coastal areas to attract and retain women in rural communities; rural community training to develop local innovation capacities, etc.
For this, there will be the participation of exclusive speakers such as: Gioia Ghezzi, President of the Board of Directors of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT); Marcelino Oreja, CEO of Enagás; Francisco Velázquez, Founder and President of Axon Partners Group; Normunds Popens, Deputy Director General of the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission (DG REGIO); Adam Rottenbacher, Head of the Office of the Director of the EIT; Kerstin Rosenow, Head of the Research and Innovation Unit of the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission; Olavi Luotonen, Head of Smart Cities and Communities at the Internet of Things (IoT) Unit of the European Commission; Alessandro Rainoldi, Head of the Territorial Development Unit of the European Commission; Marion Eckardt, President of the European Association of Leaders for Rural Development (ELARD), Juan de Antonio, CEO and Founder of Cabify, Mariano Navarro, Manager of New Technologies of the Innovation Sub-Directorate - Tragsa Group, etc.
The Matchmaking activities on 7th April, hosted by the first Startup Village (Villahoz-Burgos, Spain), are focused on connecting startups with corporations, investors and institutions such as Enagás Emprende, Impulsa Visión RTVE, Cruz Roja together with Texos, Cabify, Enisa, Grupo Axon Partners, Encomenda Smart Capital, Grupo Segofinance, Sociosinversores.com, Ship2b Foundation, Ship2b Ventures, René de Jong, AC ventures (ACV_VC) and EIT Food.
REInA and its partners have drafted a manifesto which includes the most relevant initiatives, actions, strategies, objectives and activities mentioned above and which will be presented to the public on 6th April at a Europe-wide event during the launch event.