01 October 2015 14:25
THE PROVINCIAL COUNCIL AND THE WORLD’S LARGEST STARTUP ACCELERATOR LINK BIZKAIA WITH BOSTON’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP ECOSYSTEM
Territorial and Economic Development
Start-ups from Bizkaia are to take part in the biggest contest for newly incorporated firms organised by MassChallenge, a benchmark in Boston’s entrepreneurship ecosystem along with Harvard University and MIT. The agreement is part of the strategy of the Department of Economic and Territorial Development to set up permanent networks connecting Bizkaia with major nodes and opportunity centres worldwide with a view to strengthening the fabric of business in the territory. MassChallenge has chosen Bizkaia as one of its priority locations in mainland Europe, and its sixth international Bridge program partner worldwide.
Kara Shurmantine, MassChallenge, Imnao Pradales
Bilbao, 1 October, 2015. The Provincial Council and MassChallenge, the world’s largest startup accelerator, have signed an agreement that will enable entrepreneurs and start-ups in Bizkaia to connect to markets, networks and investors in the global innovation ecosystem. This cooperation agreement will facilitate competitive growth among innovative start-ups in Bizkaia, and will reinforce the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the territory, enabling it to attract and hold onto Basque and foreign entrepreneurs.
Agreement between Bizkaia and MassChallenge
Under the agreement entered into by the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and MassChallenge, the Boston-based organisation will provide assessment in setting up an annual local contest for start-ups in Bizkaia as from 2016.
10 of the entrants in that contest will be selected by judges from MassChallenge to continue growing and receiving training at an intensive workshop in Boston, where they will have access to personalised advice, strategic coaching on how to access the US market and sessions on leadership, financing, product development, and more.
The agreement also envisages the possibility that those start-ups which can show evidence of high levels of innovation may be able to access the semi-finals of MassChallenge’s worldwide contest. Semi-finalists in this contest will receive assessment from the network of contacts of the accelerator in Boston and will have the opportunity to go on to reach the grand final. This collaboration with MassChallenge and the assessment provided in Boston will enable the start-ups selected to access a whole network of investors, patrons and other entrepreneurs at international level.
Bizkaia will thus not only secure a presence for its start-ups in a global centre of excellence such as Boston but will also ensure that these Bizkaia-based companies will grow, help create jobs and increase the capability for innovation in the territory.
The agreement between the Provincial Council and MassChallenge includes an assessment and diagnostic analysis of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Bizkaia. To that end, three members of MassChallenge and two mentors are currently visiting Bizkaia, where they are holding numerous meetings with start-ups, firms, universities and the Provincial Council itself.
MassChallenge runs startup accelerators designed to catalyze a global renaissance by connecting high-impact startups with the resources they need to launch and succeed. Anyone can apply to MassChallenge, with any early-stage startup, in any industry, from anywhere in the world. MassChallenge does not take equity or place any restrictions on the startups it supports.
With programs in Boston, Israel and the UK, MassChallenge provides entrepreneurs with mentorship, office space, education, access to a vast network, and other resources during four months of acceleration. MassChallenge awards over $2 million in non-dilutive grants to the startups demonstrating the highest impact and highest potential. A nonprofit organization, MassChallenge is funded by corporate, public and foundation partners. To date, the 617 MassChallenge alumni have raised over $947 million in funding, generated $485 million in revenue and created 5,105 jobs. For more information, visit www.masschallenge.org.
The US city of Boston, which is home to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is an international benchmark for entrepreneurship, innovation and bioscience. This agreement reinforces the links between Bizkaia and Boston that were first forged via the cooperation between the Provincial Council and MIT in January 2015 for the staging of the "BILBAO BIZKAIA ENTREPRENEURSHIP MEETUP 2015". This event brought together 200 entrepreneurs at the Palacio Euskalduna conference centre, and enabled young local entrepreneurs to meet 16 worldwide experts in the creation of new businesses.