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The Accelerathon Spain-Portugal: innovation and cooperation against COVID-19 and climate change closes with winning proposals HiCard and KrattWorks

The Accelerathon Spain-Portugal: innovation and cooperation against COVID-19 and climate change closes with winning proposals HiCard and KrattWorks

The Accelerathon Euroregion Alentejo-Algarve-Andalusia promoted two projects for the two challenges posed: KrattWorkson climate change and Hi Card on the fight against COVID-19.


BioAgro (climate change) and Lockeep (COVID-19), the other two finalist initiatives, will enjoy partial mentoring through a European aid information service.


Startup Europe Accelerathon is the open innovation program to drive innovative.


The initiative is co-financed by the Ministry of the Presidency, Public and Interior Administration of the Junta de Andalucía.


07.05.2021. On Thursday May 6 2021, at 17:00h CEST (Brussels time) the final ceremony of the Accelerathon Spain-Portugal took place: innovation and cooperation against COVID-19 and climate change. Through this open innovation system, an initiative implemented by the Finnova Foundation and co-financed this time by the Ministry of the Presidency, Public and Interior Administration of the Junta de Andalucía, has sought to promote innovative technologies for the challenges of combating OVID-19 and climate change in the AAA Euroregion (Alentejo-Algarve-Andalusia).

The Startup Europe Accelerathon methodology follows the indications of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), contributing from each challenge to the seventeen proposed SDOs – in this case,  SDS 13: taking urgent action to combat climate change and its effects. The Accelerathon develops within the framework of theStartup Europe Awards, a methodology of the European Commission’s DG CONNECT that was born from DG Research, Development and Innovation in 2020 with the pan-European Hackthevirus campaign.

The call for this Accelerathon Spain – Portugal was presented on March 9 2021 with a clear objective: to finance talent and innovation through cross-border cooperation between the actors of the Euroregion and the European Union thus responding to the common challenges between the two. The inaugural online event was  attended by 22 experts  and  representatives of the Alentejo-Algarve-Andalusia Euroregion, including personalities such as  Juan Ignacio Zoido, MEP member of the Commission of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament, José Enrique Millo Rocher, Secretary General of External Action at the Ministry of the Presidency of the Junta de Andalucía,  Joao Bule, National Coordinator of POCTEP in Portgual  and María de Lurdes Carvalho, Director of Services of the Coordination and Regional Development Commission of the Algarve. The inaugural event was attended by more than 100 people.

The closing ceremony on Thursday, May 6 2021 was attended by José Enrique Millo Rocher, Secretary General of External Action of the Ministry of the Presidency, Public and Interior Administration of the Junta de Andalucía, responsible for the opening and closing of the event as a body that co-finances this initiative. Massimiliano Dragoni also participated in the opening, representing the DG Connect of the European Commission. On this occasion 81 people (15 from Belgium, 2 from Estonia, 2 from LATAM – Mexico and Argentina – and 2 from Portugal) were registered; however, the highest peak in audience was 75 people. If you couldn’t watch the event, you can see it here: https://youtu.be/CthF8euGF0Y

José Enrique Millo Rocher highlighted the importance of cross-border cooperation, with cooperation in the Alentejo-Algarve-Andalusia Euroregion being one of the main axes of external action of the Junta de Andalucía. It also emphasized the great role played by the European Union in the development of these cross-border regions. Cross-border cooperation “must be asked what to do and how to plan for the future, as the development of border regions depends directly on cooperation between adjacent regions.”

Massimiliano Dragoni explained that the objective of the European Commission’s DG Connect is to bring together all European startups to leverage their talents and skills, as well as to encourage the search for funds to make possible new European projects from all areas, including technology. The Startup Europe Awards, he explained, are an incentive for new start-ups with a commercial and sustainability vision. In addition, Dragoni, highlighted  the Interreg POCTEP Programme  as  a program with a vision of sustainable growth and cooperation between Spain and Portugal.

The closing ceremony was moderated by Juanma Revuelta, CEO of the Finnova Foundation and driver of the Startup Europe Accelerathon  initiative and was structured in several blocks. The first focused on European funding sources for the fight against COVID-19 and climate change, with presentations Ramón González Carvajal, President of Sevilla Futura, Adrián Noheda, director of the area of internationalization and business innovations at the Finnova Foundation and Juan Viesca, Director of European Funds at the Finnova Foundation.

The director of Sevilla Futura, Ramón González Carvajal, explained that Sevilla Futura aims to respond to one of the main problems of innovative systems in countries that do not have the same capacity to attract private financing. The aim of Sevilla Futura is to make innovative ideas a success in terms of entrepreneurship and sustainability. Innovative ideas come from foreign investment, “but funding in southern Europe is not as easy as in northern countries,” he said. Finally, Carvajal encouraged the mobilization of Community funds, as they have a “quite slow absorption and there is an excess of bureaucracy”.

Adrián Noheda focused his presentation on the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program, formerly known as the “SME Instrument”, possibly the most interesting program for entrepreneurs. It offers up to 2.5 million euros and is open to all innovations, “it is a platform to catapult small and medium-sized enterprises with innovative and sustainable ideas. 1 billion euros of European money to invest in this program”.

For his part, Juan Viesca began his speech by congratulating the Portuguese on having been the most agile in presenting his recovery plan. Viesca spoke of the Recovery Plan for Europe:  EU Next Generation  and  React-EU,saying that Spain “will be the most benefited country by these funds”. Finally, the Director of European Funds at Finnova spoke of the new LIFE Program, which  will cover the following areas: nature and biodiversity; circular economy and quality of life; mitigation and adaptation to climate change; and transition to clean energy.

Then Beatriz Martínez, communication officer at the Finnova Foundation, presented to the members of the jury and the 16 proposals that chose the winners of this edition of Startup Europe Accelerathon Spain-Portugal and that  will be advised and mentored  by the Finnova Foundation in order to have access to various European financialopportunities. Subsequently, the finalist proposals proceeded to their presentations.

For the Climate Change Challenge, on the one hand, José Luis Bustos of BioAgro Tech presented his mobile intelligence technology for cultivation, based on ICT that collects and integrates data reducing water scarcity in a very innovative way. For his part, Mattias Luha of Krattworks, explained the proposed system, which gives a quick knowledge of the situation to firefighters, rescuers and policemen with the artificial vision installed in the drones to detect the line of fire.

For the Covid-19 Challenge Masta Castander explained her solution, HiCard, based on blockchain technology that will help promote the safe return of the international tourism. Finally, José Vicente González Calatayud, José María Espinosa González and Alejandro Romero Fechoz, LocKeep’s team, presented a device to insulate spaces by creating negative pressure inside by actuating an empty pump.

José Enrique Millo Rocher oversaw announcing the winning project in the two challenges for which he competed. In the Climate Change Challenge, the winner was Krattworks’ proposal, which uses drones to, thanks to Artificial Intelligence, obtain real-time information on the objectives and people on burning ground. The second finalist was  BioAgro, a proposal that uses low-cost technology to collect crop information to make the water and fertilizer supply effective.

For the Covid-19 Challenge, the winning proposal was the HiCard, an application that seeks to promote the mobility of people through a Universal Digital Health Card thanks to technologies such as blockchain, from which a database is created that makes it easier for citizens to always carry their medical data with them in order to be taken care of beyond their borders. The second finalist in this challenge was LocKeep, a project from which safe spaces are created in front of COVID-19 using a device installed in the doors of the rooms that allows, by means of a vacuum pump, to isolate the air from inside the room so that it does not encounter the outside air.

Among the participants in the climate change challenge, projects and start-ups as interesting as: Miracoil,  based on the reintroduction of waste in the economic cycle, treating them locally and expanding their lifecycle by producing a synthetic fuel for transport; the Food Growing Guidance System (FGGS) project, which uses the technology to carry out daily monitoring of crop water quality, favoring its performance; CleanSpot, a mobile application that promotes recycling and reuse in municipalities through information, awareness raising, incentives and gamification to achieve the European Union’s recycling objectives; NitroFirex, a project  that  applies  an innovative advance to the use of drones: thanks to night vision, it allows to act against the spread of fire at night from the air; Wild Hopper, a Drone Hopper proposal  for the fight against fires through a powerful drone with capacity to load 600 liters of water to cover an area of 2,000 m2; I-SEE, an aerial observation platform that allows, by light aircraft and drones, to detect fires and quickly alert the authorities; Wildcard devices, which has created an ergonomic low weight handle that improves performance and productivity while reducing the likelihood of fatigue or injury; and  E-gather, a platform energy management in coastal territories, promoting local Energy Communities.

Also, among the proposals focused on combating COVID-19 was the participation of OK Located, an interesting Smart platform that favors COVID-19-free tourism, collecting through a single application information of interest, plans, etc. of the cities, and HRTH (Halal Tour Help), which promotes a safe and free halal tourism of Covid-19 through a mobile application, raised for the Muslim community but applicable to a greater number of tourists.

Among the initiatives involved in the two challenges are, under the curious name, Tengo una Paja en el Ojo, a project that aims to promote the employment of people with disabilities and women victims of gender-based violence in the construction with rice straw of schools and housing, and Biodivernus  a project based on machine learning technology to collect information on permits, cultivation techniques, potential studies, recovery plans, etc. on the NUS or marginalized and underutilized crops, thus protecting biodiversity.

The experts who participated in the opening event and who launched challenges and encouraged entrepreneurs and startups to present their projects were also members of the jury. This is the case of José Manuel Requena, Manager of European Projects; Pedro Chaves, Forestry Technician at the Forestry Technical Office of the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve (AMAL); Nuno Guiomar, researcher at the University of Evora; Sofia Martins, project manager at IrRADIARE; Valentín Gómez, Deputy Director of Innovation and Development of Tragsa; Jesús Cumplido Medina, technician at the Andalusia Emprende Foundation; José  Luis Muñoz, senior advisor Next Generation EU; María José Valero, director of Talent Growth Management; Josu Gómez, strategic consultant and founder of Red Business Market; Guillermo Fernández, representative of AROSA R&D Consulting; and  Manuel José García Gómez, General Manager of AGQ Labs.

About Startup Europe Accelerathon (www.accelerathon.eu)

Startup Europe Accelerathon aims to identify innovative ideas capable of obtaining funding from the European Union, such as LIFE, Green Deal, Horizon 2020 or NextGenerationEU program. Startup Europe Accelerathon follows the directions of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by contributing from each challenge to the proposed SDP objectives; under the European Commission’s DG CONNECT Startup Europe Awards methodology from DG Research and Development in 2020 with the pan-European Hackthevirus campaign. It has been successfully carried out with governments such as the Valencian Community with the challenge of industrial polluting waters or Junta de Andalucía with the challenge of combating climate change, forest management and innovation in the prevention, firefighting and regeneration of burned spaces.

About Startup Europe Network

Startup Europe is an initiative of the EuropeanCommission, DG CONNECT, to connect and promote high-tech startups, scaleups, investors, accelerators, corporate networks, universities and media.

Learn more about Startup Europe: Startup Europe | Shaping Europe’s digital future (europa.eu)

About Startup Europe Awards (HIS) (www.startupeuropeawards.eu)

It is a methodology of dg CONNECT of the European Commission, implemented by the Finnova Foundation since 2016. SEUA is an open innovation tool to identify disruptive startups, promote public-private collaboration and raise awareness of the importance of self-priming as an employment-generating engine. In addition, to build partnerships to help meeting the United Nations SDS and the actions of the European Green Pact, thus contributing to the circular economy, the fight against climate change and sustainable tourism. The winners get support to turn their projects into larger ones financially supported by the EU (between 500,000 euros and 17.5 million euros), international legal support and lobbying, strategic mentoring, international networking, investor access and support for internationalisation worldwide.

About CILIFO – Collaborating Project (www.cilifo.eu)

The Iberian Centre for Forest Fire Research and Combat (CILIFO) is funded by the Interreg V-A Spain – Portugal – POCTEP Cross-Border Cooperation Programme (2014-2020), has a total budget of 24.6 million euros and is the Interreg project with the highest funding in the history of the forest fire programs. It focuses on the fight against forest fires and their consequences for climate change adaptation and mitigation; in a framework of cross-border cooperation for the prevention of risks and the improvement of the management of the natural resources of Spain and Portugal in the Euroregion Alentejo – Algarve -Andalusia. The project follows the directions of Un Sustainable Development Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its effects.

About Firefighting Open Innovation Lab – CILIFO (www.innovation.cilifo.eu)

The CILIFO Project through its Firefighting Open Innovation Lab – CILIFO (accelerator – incubator managed by Finnova) supports the initiatives of entrepreneurs and companies in the field of prevention and fight against forest fires. There are currently 18 companies affiliated to the accelerator and are being mentored and guided to initiatives in the search for European funding.

About Finnova (www.finnova.eu)

European Foundation for the financing of innovation headquartered in Brussels and with offices in Andalusia (Sevilla), Basque Country (Vitoria), Valencian Community (Valencia), Madrid, Canary Islands (Fuerteventura, Santacruz and Gran Canaria), and with antennae in Romania, Panama and Chile and whose objectives are to promote public-private cooperation through innovation to address social challenges such as employment, training, entrepreneurship, the United Nations SDS, the circular economy, health, digitization, water and renewable energies. One of his priorities is the training of young talent in Managing European Affairs in Brussels.

Contact

Beatriz Martínez Muñoz, European Projects and communication officer at the Finnova Foundation.
E-mail: beatriz.martinez@finnova.eu