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South Summit Madrid acquires scale-up status in its 10th anniversary

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Written by Stefano De Marzo

A huge burst of optimism is what you could feel today in the presentation of the South Summit 2022. In a packed auditorium, accompanied by a live band, Maria Benjumea, CEO of Spain Startup, the institution organizing the South Summit for the past decade, gave a very emotional speech. 

She highlighted how in 2012, in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, they bet on South Summit as a way to revitalize the Spanish ecosystem, an environment that didn’t have unicorns yet. Fast forward 10 years and the situation is way different. 

The auditorium saw a photograph of the Nasdaq billboard in Times Square, in New York, congratulating the 10th anniversary of the Madrid event, while Benjumea pointed out that now, more than ever, are reasons to be optimistic. The Next Tech Found and the Startup Law are on the top of the list. Benjumea invited everybody to make the most out of the event, which is co-organized by IE University.

Multiple reasons to be optimistic

Next was the turn of Madrid’s mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida who celebrated the city as an open place for innovation, investment, and startups. Then Diego del Alcazar, CEO of IE University, said thank you to María Benjumea, that happen to be his mother. He went on to highlight the power of entrepreneurship to change the world and South Summit as a hub of innovation since the day it was born. Del Alcazar pointed out the importance of the expansion of the event, that just a month ago had its first Brasilian edition in the city of Porto Alegre, the Silicon Valley of Brazil.

Then it was the turn of Mariya Gabriel, the EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth. She stood in front of the auditorium and encouraged the assistants to join forces to become a powerful group including corporates, startups, and investors. A pan-European innovation ecosystem is a goal, she added. One that can connect innovations with industries and tackle global challenges.

Gabriel said that is the moment to leverage the new wave of innovation and that it’s also time for Europe to become the leading deep tech hub in the world. She pointed out that the continent has an engineering talent pool and the industrialized base to do so. “This is a momentum to cease”, said Gabriel. The EU Commissioner highlighted Madrid as one of the Top 5 innovative cities in Europe. 

Last but not least, was the turn of Nadia Calviño, First Vice President of the Spanish government and Minister for the Economy and Digital Transformation. She started her speech by saying that South Summit has reached its scale-up moment with this edition. Then she moved on to the efforts of the government toward the green transition and the Spanish recovery plan. Calviño also mentioned in closing her opening speech that the upcoming Startup Law, which in her own words, would place Spain at the forefront of the startup ecosystems, it’s going to encourage a new wave of innovation and startups in the country. Everybody in the auditorium agreed.

About the author

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Stefano De Marzo

Stefano De Marzo is the editor of Novobrief.