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San Sebastián launches its Innovation Plan for 2024 with 5.6 million euros

  • The objective of the plan, launched by Fomento de San Sebastián, is to develop innovative projects that boost the economy and employment in the city, with a focus on people, and in collaboration with agents of the ecosystem.
  • Three million euros will be used to finance lines of economic funding for the promotion of innovation.

The Department of Local Economy and Employment, trough Fomento de San Sebastián, has presented the Innovation Plan for 2024, which includes a new management model to respond to the city´s future challenges.

The City Council´s commitment to innovation is reflected in the activity report of the Municipal Company, which indicates that in 2023 it assisted 2,564 people, accompanied 1,352 companies, and supported 295 entrepreneurial projects, 44% of which were innovative in nature. In addition, close to 2 million euros were invested in programmes to support recruitment and job creation, which resulted in the creation of 1,697 new jobs.

San Sebastián is nowadays a City of Science and Innovation thanks to its commitment to a management model based on knowledge, science, and innovation, which has led to the consolidation of 29 centres associated with the Basque Science and Technology Network. The investment in R&D&I in 2022 amounted to 325.4M€, placing the city's GDP at 3.7%. All this in an ecosystem that offers employment to 5,954 people.

Despite the current situation of stability and growth, the city faces different challenges, such as:

  • The search for innovative solutions for sustainability and urban transformation.
  • Development and consolidation of a solid business fabric that generates quality employment.
  • Development and training of local talent.
  • Technology generation and knowledge transfer itineraries.
  • Transformation of traditional sectors of the Urban Economy (commerce, hospitality, and tourism)
  • Attractiveness and international positioning of the city.

The mayor and president of Fomento de San Sebastián, Eneko Goia, has highlighted the work that Fomento de San Sebastián carries out in terms of “boosting, accompanying, and multiplying the economic and labour fabric of the city”. In his opinion, the programmes, and the investment channelled each year allow to strengthen the economic activity, which results in making us the capital of the state with the lowest unemployment rate and the highest income per capita.

For the Councillor for Local Economy and Employment, Ane Oyarbide, "having overcome the pandemic, and although the indicators show that San Sebastián is in a good situation, it is time to give new impetus, with innovation as a lever to change, allowing us to meet the challenges of the city. The goal is for San Sebastián to have an innovative business fabric that generates quality employment and opportunities for local youth.

The General Director of Fomento de San Sebastián, Iñigo Olaizola, has pointed out that "we want to consolidate our commitment to innovation through an ambitious programme of support and services, which promotes projects and generates opportunities, especially for young talent. We want to focus on the social impact of this commitment to science and innovation as a differentiating element of the city. And all this, being close to the citizens and in collaboration with the entire ecosystem."

This Innovation Plan will be deployed in 5 lines of action:

1. Promoting Municipal Public Innovation

Its objective is to identity innovative and sustainable solutions for urban transformation, trough public-private collaboration, to improve the quality of life of the citizens of San Sebastián.

In 2024 it foresees among other initiatives, to reorient the Smart Kalea project, launching an open call for city challenges, the promotion of Innovative Public Procurement or the search for economic resources to finance cross-cutting urban transformation projects.

2. The city as an Innovative entrepreneurship Hub

The objective is to turn San Sebastián into an attractive space for the development of local and foreign entrepreneurial initiatives, connecting resources and strengthening the city as a Hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The new EKINN space will be the cornerstone for the development of services, financial support and programmes aimed at improving the development, welcoming and acceleration of entrepreneurial initiatives. The highlights include the first edition of the international Summer Campus, Ekinn San Sebastian Campus, aimed at young entrepreneurs, the line of education and training Ekinn Academy, as well as the acceleration program EKINN + and its thematic editions (Health, Shops and Gastro).

3. City of science and Platform for Innovation

A line of work designed to promote the development of talent, business growth and competitive improvement, technology transfer to companies and the promotion of sectors of opportunity, focusing on the social impact of the city's commitment to science and innovation.

During 2024 Fomento de San Sebastián will continue to support the dissemination and popularisation of knowledge through initiatives such as the XI Innovation Week, as well as those actions that promote STEAM vocations and those that give visibility to the role of women.

The technology transfer itineraries will enhance the growth and competitive improvement of the business fabric, identifying Artificial Intelligence as a disruptive technology for the development of projects and solutions. In addition, the focus will be on sectors such as biosciences and companies that offer knowledge-intensive services, to strengthen their growth and development.

Support for the Urban Economy, (Commerce, Hospitality and Tourism) will be offered mainly with funding from the Next Funds and through a set of programmes that facilitate the transformation of these traditional sectors through their digitalisation or improved sustainability.

4. Projects to develop local Young Talent

The objective is to generate spaces for connection with the young people of San Sebastián and to deploy measures in the field of training, employment, and housing to retain young talent, making Fomento de San Sebastián a benchmark for young people in the city.

Throughout the year, actions such as the new Summer Course, Gazte(hi)ria, which aims to become a space for annual dialogue with young people, will be enabled. Besides, the IV Edition of the Talent Fair will be held, and the Urban Young Leaders SS programme will be launched, which seeks to identify local young people with innovative solutions to tackle city challenges. A new call will be opened for the Local Talent Residencies programme, which will offer subsidized temporary accommodation in the EKINN and Talent House buildings to local young people linked to the field of innovation.Grants to promote recruitment and international mobility scholarships will also be offered.

5. International positioning of the city as an innovation Hub

The objective is to project the San Sebastián brand as a space of opportunity for the development of innovative business projects through a strategy of connection with other international agents.

In 2024, connections with cities and strategic entities will be developed and the international line linked to entrepreneurship and innovation of the EKINN SS Hub will be deployed to attract international entrepreneurs. Economic support will be offered to attract and develop events.

37% of the Innovation Plan 2024 budget is co-financed through different sources. NEXT funds account for 24% through different projects presented in the framework of the Recovery and Resilience programme. The co-financing is completed thanks to programmes from other institutions such as the Basque Government, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, the European Social Fund and Interreg Europe. The rest of the budget is financed with the Municipal Company's own resources.