Brussels, July 5, 2023. The Diputació de Tarragona and the Chair of Entrepreneurship of the Rovira i Virgili University, held on Wednesday, July 5 in person and online the final ceremony of the Next Challenges CatSud program, with the aim of publicizing the results of the program in solving corporate challenges and highlighting the key role played by open innovation and co-creation to boost an innovative and competitive entrepreneurial ecosystem. Lola Bordás, Finnova’s CMO, presented the LIFE Ecodigestión 2.0 project, in which Finnova is a partner.

Lola Bordás has shared information about the innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem in Brussels and has presented the LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0 project, a project of the European LIFE program that includes an automatic control system for the dosing of organic waste in anaerobic digesters of WWTP to maximize the production of biogas on demand as renewable energy. Led by Global Omnium, with the participation of the Finnova Foundation and Aguas do Centro Litoral as partners, LIFE Ecodigestion 2.0 has a budget of more than 970,000 euros, Bordás highlighted the importance of sustainable innovation in building the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and presented two initiatives that are carried out in the framework of LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0: the Startup Europe Awards and GIRLS4TECH, whose objective is to disseminate the project and attract talent. Bordás invited attendees to participate in these open initiatives.

During the event, there has been the participation of leading experts in different areas. Alexander Phimister, author of the book “The Book of Innovation: A practical guide to innovate in your company” and head of Lab3040 of the Chamber of Barcelona, highlighted the importance of cultivating values of humility to drive improvements in business innovation, both in incremental, adjacent and transformational terms.

Xavier Càmara, director of the Cátedra de Emprendimiento de la URV, has highlighted the role of the Hub Emprèn CatSud in the Tarragona business ecosystem and perspectives of expansion and growth that is visible in said context.

Anna Busquets, CEO of Muutos Consulting, has been able to emphasize the power of the cocreation and collaboration between collaboration between energy-based trust and open communication, as an effective method to address corporate challenges present in the program Next Challenges CatSud.

In addition, a round table discussion entitled “Open innovation in the company,” was held with the participation of key representatives of companies participating in the program: Julio Rodrigo, director of the Innovation and Sustainability department of AMBIT Cluster; Mar Pàmies, director of Innovation at Grup Gomà-Camps; Marín Garrido, CEO of eAgora; and Sergi Novo, director of Clúster TIC Catalunya Sud. This debate has provided a space for discussion and exchange of ideas on the implementation of open innovation in their respective organizations. Other collaborating companies are: Grupo Pintaluba, Kellogg’s, Kriskadecor, and Techma Business School.

The day was part of the operation “Aulaplus, comprehensive training service for the territory”, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union, under the ERDF Operational Program Catalonia 2014-2020, objective of investment in growth and employment, axis 4; and ended with a visit to the Digital Manufacturing Laboratory and the CIF Boca de la Mina.

About Next Challenges CatSud

The Diputació de Tarragona and the Chair of Entrepreneurship of the Rovira i Virgili University created in 2021 the Hub Emprèn CatSud, an online space for consolidated companies and startups in the region to facilitate collaboration, joint project development and the resolution of challenges based on innovation.

To strengthen this community, the Next Challenges CatSud program was launched, through which companies and startups are accompanied for 10 months in the resolution of challenges. This includes defining the challenges, providing support in the creation of the project and, finally, implementing solutions previously tested and prototyped in the Digital Manufacturing Laboratory of the Tarragona Provincial Council in Reus.

About the Provincial Council of Tarragona

The Provincial Council of Tarragona is the governing and administrative body of the Spanish province of Tarragona, belonging to the autonomous community of Catalonia. The Tarragona Provincial Council is mainly oriented to improve the quality of life of the citizens of the regions of Camp de Tarragona and Terres de l’Ebre.

About Finnova Foundation

Finnova is the European foundation for the financing of innovation. Its objectives are to promote public-private cooperation through the transfer of the best available low-cost technological solutions. It aims to address social challenges such as employment, entrepreneurship, the UN SDGs, circular economy, waste recovery, sustainable tourism and the fight against climate change. The Finnova Foundation promotes green jobs, economic revitalization and training and youth employment.

About Next Talent Generation

The online platform from which Finnova promotes youth employment in Europe thanks to the funding that the European Union allocates to programs that fight against youth unemployment.

About LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0

This is a pilot demonstration project, funded by the LIFE program and with a budget of more than 970,000 euros, which generates biogas in sewage treatment plant digesters by mixing putrescible organic waste (slurry, poultry, organic fractions, MSW, horeca, etc.), thus transforming sewage sludge into green energy through technology. The initiative led by Global Omnium, (Spain), in collaboration with the Finnova Foundation (Belgium) and Águas do Centro Litoral (Portugal) aims to become the most versatile digestion control tool on the market, achieving environmental and economic benefits through the production of biogas by making optimal use of waste. Thanks to this technology, it favors the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the use of sewage sludge generated in wastewater treatment processes, thus achieving a positive impact on the environment. This program is easily expandable with other funds such as FEDER, NextGenerationEU or Repower EU.