The European Business and Innovation Center of Aragon (CEEIARAGON) celebrates 30 years as a tool to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the region. “In addition to structuring the territory thanks to its three headquarters, CEEIARAGON has accompanied and continues to support entrepreneurial projects with innovation as a common point,” stressed the Minister Marta Gaston at the event held Tuesday at the headquarters of the center in Huesca to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of this public body, under the Department of Economy, Planning and Employment. Based on this “work of support and accompaniment” carried out in these three decades and adapting to the new times, the CEEI has designed a strategy for the near future that “beyond innovation and entrepreneurship, has knowledge and training among its keys“. All this with the aim of promoting “economic development and dynamization, promoting a more intelligent socio-economic growth”, explained Gastón.
Marta Gaston on the work of CEEIARAGON and the importance of training
In this line, in collaboration with the School of Industrial Development (EOI), seven blended training programs have been promoted and subsidized at 80%, with more than 160 students, through which it has been committed to the training of professionals both in digitization -from the headquarters of Huesca- and in circular economy -in Teruel- and in female management development -from Zaragoza-. In November, two new digital programs will start at CEEI’s center in Aragon in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, and soon specialized training for social economy entities will be added to this offer.
Throughout these three decades CEEIARAGON has helped to grow and consolidate 339 companies (40 of them from the province of Huesca) in sectors such as agribusiness, ICT, energy or biotechnology, some of them renowned -such as Certest Biotec, Hiberus, Libelium, Bitbrain or Embou– and all of them with an important innovative component, as evidenced by the 154 patents they hold as a whole. In addition to these companies born in the heart of the CEEI, more than 4,000 projects have been attended and supported in one way or another by the team of professionals of the center during this time.
The survival rate of the companies after their passage through the CEEI is almost 80% in the first ten years of life and the startups that make use of its services score 8.9 out of 10 for their degree of satisfaction. Data such as these demonstrate the know-how of this Aragonese public company, which has become a national and European benchmark in innovation and entrepreneurship. Proof of this is that since 1992 it has held the European B.I.C. (Business Innovation Centre) quality mark, which it renewed in 2021 after an audit process. The European Business Network (EBN) has evaluated the focus and quality of the service offered to entrepreneurs, and has included the CEEI in the committee of experts that assesses this certification at international level. In addition, in recent weeks, the FUNCAS ranking of incubators 2022/2023 has recognized CEEEIARAGON as the first incubator in Aragon, and the best basic incubation incubator in Spain.
Protagonists in a documentary
The team that has worked and works in the three headquarters of CEEIARAGON in the three Aragonese provinces, and the entrepreneurs who have passed through them are the protagonists of the documentary “30 years of entrepreneurship and innovation in Aragon”, which was screened on Tuesday at the event held in Huesca. In addition to the counselor Marta Gaston, representatives of companies born in CEEIARAGON as Certest Biotec, Bitbrain, Hiberus, Exopol, Dynamical 3D, OscaTech, Kineactiv and Endef; companies of the current ecosystem as The MindKind, Agrointelligent, Signos IOT and Ingeobras; workers of the center, its director, representatives of the clusters (installed at its headquarters in Zaragoza since 2018) and of the Spanish and European associations of this type of innovative center (ANCES and EBN).
After the screening of the documentary, the event held this Tuesday continued with a colloquium with the participation of three of the many companies from Alto Aragon that have been linked to the center in its 30-year history. Specifically, the heads of Mindkind, MTP and OscaTech took part.
Mindkind is a company based in Castejón de Sos and dedicated to the research and development of computer systems equipped with general artificial intelligence, which benefits from the CRECE services of CEEI, specially designed for projects that do not need physical space, but do need support and advice. For its part, MTP, the project of the entrepreneur and digital artisan Mateo Torrijos Pallarés, has been located since November 2020 in CEEIARAGON’s facilities in Huesca, where it also receives marketing training and advice from the center’s experts to advance its project. Finally, Oscatech – specializing in micro-injection and injection of plastics – is one of the companies that was born in this center, but is currently developing its activity outside it. Specifically, it is installed in Plhus, where it carries out everything from the design of parts, molds and process, to production and final control.
CEEIARAGON was set up 30 years ago as a result of institutional collaboration, being one of the first CEEIs created in Spain. It was born as a center to promote and boost the Aragonese business fabric from innovation, through industrial facilities in the three Aragonese provinces and advisory services and support by economists, engineers and the rest of its staff.
During this time, the Government of Aragon, together with the other shareholders of the public company (University of Zaragoza, Chamber of Commerce of Zaragoza and the social agents), have continued to support a center like CEEIARAGON – the only one in Aragon with headquarters in the three provinces – which supports and works on the innovation of the business fabric from the base to boost competitiveness and move towards a more social, green and digital Aragon.
Currently, there are 64 companies installed with 275 workers in them -nine of these companies in the headquarters of Huesca, both in person and benefiting from CRECE services from Castejón de Sos, Fraga and Huesca capital), and the team of professionals of the CEEI is composed of 16 people. In addition to its more than 7,000 m2 of physical facilities (coworking, offices, technical offices and industrial buildings), it offers its CRECE project development services both to companies located there and to those that are in the territory and do not require a physical location in the center.
The constant work developed in these three decades has been boosted in this last stage with a new strategic plan developed in 2020, which has sought internal modernization and greater efficiency in both processes and digitization; the attraction of new companies and the loyalty of those that were already there; the generation of an innovation ecosystem; communication and visibility to society and the motivation and continuous development of the people who make up the CEEIARAGON team. All this with the aim of continuing to be a reference center in Aragon for the development of innovative business projects.
In addition to a strong commitment to specialized training, new startup acceleration programs have been promoted aimed at the internationalization of companies in the case of ScaleUP together with Aragón Exterior, and the promotion of senior entrepreneurship with “50+ Emprendiendo”; and work is being carried out on European projects.