5 July 2023 TB news


The Port of Barcelona and Tech Barcelona inaugurate BlueTechPort, the blue economy innovation hub

5 July 2023 TB news
  • Integrated in the Tech Barcelona ecosystem, the BlueTechPort will host companies interested in innovating in the blue economy, using the Port of Barcelona as a sandbox.
  • The project is the embryo of the future space that the Port of Barcelona will open in the sheds of the Moll de Sant Bertran to host initiatives related to innovation and the attraction and training of talent.

The Port of Barcelona and Tech Barcelona have today inaugurated BlueTechPort, a new innovation space for companies whose aim is to promote innovation in all sectors related to the blue economy. The space, located at Tech Barcelona’s Pier 01 in the Palau de Mar, will host companies and entrepreneurial projects linked to the port, logistics and blue tourism sectors, but also to more disruptive sectors, such as underwater robotics, artificial intelligence applied to the marine environment, the recovery of marine biodiversity or pharmaceutical components made from marine products, among others.

“All these sectors represent new opportunities for the maritime and port ecosystem and from the Port of Barcelona we want to be at the side of these initiatives, developing a benchmark for the white economy in Europe”, said the president of the Port of Barcelona, Lluís Salvadó, at the presentation ceremony of the space.

The BlueTechPort area, the first of its kind in the Port of Barcelona, represents a further step in the commitment to innovation in the Barcelona economy, as set out in the Innovation Plan approved in 2021. Through this plan, materialised in specific initiatives such as BlueTechPort and the BCN Port Innovation Foundation, the Port of Barcelona integrates innovation into its global strategy to develop a more sustainable and competitive port and generate benefits for the port-logistics community, its customers and the public.

The collaboration with Tech Barcelona will allow companies that set up in the BlueTechPort to enjoy all the benefits available to the startups that form part of the ecosystem and is another example of the network of alliances on which the Port of Barcelona is building its open innovation strategy. This innovative ecosystem will make up the Blue District, designed to generate synergies between the different institutions and companies present in the Port of Barcelona but at the same time open to attracting leading companies and research centres beyond the port area.

“In 2013, with the creation of Tech Barcelona, we were pioneers in bringing together and strengthening Barcelona’s technological and digital ecosystem together with the city’s best entrepreneurs. Now, 10 years later, our pioneering spirit is still intact: the creation of the BlueTechPort together with the Port of Barcelona will allow us to consolidate and develop the blue economy, a strategic sector that will play a key role in the transformation of the city”, said Miquel Martí, CEO of Tech Barcelona, at the opening ceremony.

Pier01, a former warehouse located by the sea and owned by the Port of Barcelona, is since 2016 the headquarters of Tech Barcelona, the pioneering association that supports and promotes the technological and digital ecosystem of Barcelona. The association represents over 1,300 companies, from startups to large corporations, always with innovation and technology as a common denominator.

The building, recognised in 2017 as one of the five most important innovation centres in the world according to Forbes magazine, hosts dozens of projects: from innovative startups in health or energy, to innovation spaces of large companies such as CaixaBank, Naturgy or Damm, as well as venture builders such as Antai or Napptilus. In short, it has become a point of reference for everyone who wants to find out how the city’s technological and digital ecosystem works. Barcelona, the main technology hub in southern Europe and the second favourite city for entrepreneurs to create startups, has the presence of more than 2,000 startups and 100 multinational technology hubs.

Sustainability is one of the strategic axes of the companies that make up Barcelona’s technological and digital ecosystem. The alliance between the Port of Barcelona and Tech Barcelona therefore represents a unique opportunity to develop the city’s blue economy and consolidate the sector as an international benchmark.


Space for companies

The BlueTechPort is designed to welcome start-ups, scale-ups and innovative projects from consolidated companies, which will have the support and collaboration of the Port of Barcelona to carry out pilot tests or test prototypes of their projects, using the port as a sandbox in which to test their ideas and proposals. This collaboration will also allow them to access funds and subsidies for the sectors of the Barcelona economy linked to maritime and port activity while integrating them into the growing innovation ecosystem around the Port of Barcelona and Tech Barcelona.

The location of BlueTechPort at Pier01 is the embryo of the future space that the Port of Barcelona will develop in the current sheds of the Moll de Sant Bertran. After the summer, work will begin on the refurbishment project, renovating the sheds to house the first ecosystemic building for the development of the blue economy. But before that, a second phase will become a reality: the expansion of the BlueTechPort in the areas of the Barcelona dock that will be recovered from the America’s Cup sailing competition once the competition is over.