Flanders and Catalonia join forces to build each other's start-up ecosystems

Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT), the Flemish trade agency, signed two agreements in Barcelona on Thursday to help strengthen support for Flemish start-ups in the Catalonia region. The latest European Startup Heatmap report ranked Barcelona as the third most popular start-up hub.

Flemish minister president Jan Jambon was originally due to be present at the signing, but he remained in Belgium for a meeting about the farmers' protest and negotiations with agricultural organisations. The diplomatic mission continued without the political meetings that were on the initial agenda.

"This is about more than just exchanging ideas"

FIT COO Piet Demunter signed a letter of intent in Barcelona with Albert Castellanos, head of Acció, FIT's Catalan counterpart. With the declaration, FIT and Acció are committing to working together to build each other's start-up ecosystems.

"This is about more than just exchanging ideas," said Demunter. "With this, we are nurturing a culture of collaboration where we combine various strengths. This is how we tackle challenges and seize opportunities."

A bilateral cooperation agreement was also signed with Tech Barcelona, a hub for start-ups in the region. While the agreement with Acció creates a broader framework for future cooperation, the agreement with Tech Barcelona focuses on practicalities such as organising joint activities.

The signing took place at the Blue Tech Port, a blue economy innovation centre set up by the Port of Barcelona.

#FlandersNewsService | Albert Castellanos of Accio and Piet Demunter of FIT at the signing of the cooperation agreement in Barcelona, Spain,15 February 2024 © BELGA PHOTO BART VANDERKELEN

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