Málaga Tech Park, Málaga’s headquarters par excellence for innovation, hosted this conference in which renowned companies from the province’s business fabric, such as Aertec, Grupo Premo and Trops, took part
CRE100DO, a foundation that promotes business excellence and includes more than 100 of the best companies in the Spanish middle market, brought together the main actors of the innovation ecosystem of Málaga and other CRE100DO companies from different parts of Spain, who wanted to know the structure of this successful model of innovation.
The conference, held at the facilities of Málaga Tech Park, brought together relevant representatives of the regional business network and other Spanish territories such as Felipe Romera, general director of Málaga Tech Park, Ezequiel Navarro, CEO of Grupo Premo, Antonio Gómez-Guillamón, CEO of Aertec and David Sarmiento, technical director of Trops. In addition to the global vision of the professor and expert in innovation and technology, Xavier Ferrás.
The day began with the host company Premo Group, a world leader in the manufacture of electronic components for the automotive industry and a member of the CRE100DO community of companies, which welcomed us to its facilities to share its model of success and its keys to innovation.
Felipe Romera and Ezequiel Navarro were in charge of putting into context the successful model for the structuring of the innovation ecosystem in Málaga.
Felipe Romera stated that ‘The success of the innovation ecosystem in Málaga is not a one-off event, three things are happening in Málaga that are particularly relevant: institutional cooperation, the support of a benchmark university in the innovation system and the great transformation of the Málaga ecosystem materialised in a club of connected entrepreneurs who promote innovation in a collaborative manner.’ ‘With the aim of materialising the large number of projects that were conceived for the Next Generation Fund calls, the Ricardo Valle Institute was born as an innovation hub, in which companies as important as three of those present here today participate: Aertec, Premo and Trops,’ adds Romera.
Ezequiel Navarro added that ‘Companies want to come to Málaga because they are sure that they are in a fertile ground with an ecosystem that works. We want to be the first lighthouse that guides innovation through the different poles of the rest of Spain, inventing as we move forward, we must have ambition and provide innovation with the right resources such as constant training and talent.’
In his speech, Xavier Ferrás highlighted the arrival of a golden age of innovation in the face of new globalisation based on the attraction of high technology. ‘Spain, like all of Europe, is at a turning point, a ‘sputnik moment.’ It is now or never. We must drastically increase investment in R&D and initiate a solid industrial policy. CR100DO companies are examples of hidden champions that can form the backbone of the economy in the coming years,’ says Ferrás.
The conference culminated with a dialogue between three representatives of excellent CRE100DO companies in the province of Málaga, moderated by Rafael Vaquero, general director of CRE100DO Foundation: Aertec, Grupo Premo and Trops. Companies with an innovative gene explained in their speeches how they approach innovation and what is required to be an innovative company with the consequent challenges and opportunities that it entails. In the conversation, key issues of practical application for these types of companies in the middle market segment came up, such as the importance of culture being innovative and the need to work in collaborative models.
Antonio Gómez-Guillamón, CEO of Aertec, a leading international aeronautics company specialising in airports, the aerospace industry and defence, highlighted anticipation as a tool for being prepared for new market demands. ‘Innovation means being ahead of what the client is asking for, and that the client sees us as a technology partner to create ecosystems,’ declared Gómez-Guillamón. ‘Without talent, you can’t innovate, motivation is key for the people in the company to understand the personal and professional challenges they face.’
David Sarmiento, technical director of Trops, told us about the success story of a benchmark company in the tropical fruit sector with the production of avocado and mango using the best technology on the market. ‘Innovating for Trops means getting ahead of problems with the solution, raising the primary sector to another level, and investing in training and research. Through our recent innovation centre we want to transmit to society what our production model based on the efficient use of water in our processes consists of.’ ‘Being innovative is a daily challenge,’ he concludes.
For his part, Ezequiel Navarro highlighted the role of innovation in the culture. ‘The essence of innovation is culture, which must be collaborative and participatory, you have to innovate whether you are doing well or badly, curiosity, looking outwards and feeling permanently challenged.’
About CRE100DO Foundation
Eight years ago the Bankinter Foundation of Innovation, ICEX-Spain Export and Investment and Círculo de Empresarios joined forces to set up the CRE100DO programme. Now consolidated and converted into a foundation, to promote business excellence by grouping together and supporting excellent companies of what we call Intermediate Size Enterprises (ISEs), companies whose characteristics are capable of improving the competitiveness of our production model.
In 2018 we reached the goal of adding 100 excellent companies with a turnover of between 50 and 500 million euros to this initiative. CRE100DO will be today a community of 125 excellent companies that have managed, among many other things, to have a clear vision, transform themselves, internationalise and innovate, serving as an example for other smaller companies in their process of achieving excellence.
The total contribution generated by the 125 CRE100DO companies in the country’s economy is 14 billion euros per year to the GDP and more than 250,000 jobs. CRE100DO companies belong to a wide variety of sectors. These companies, in addition to many other attributes, are born with a clear innovative vocation and are prone to constant change and transformation, resilience and adaptability. We are well aware that a more developed business fabric allows for a faster technologicalisation of the economy, which increases the country’s productivity and wealth.