Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Private and public sector working together in Mediterranean innovation

on Thursday, February 4th 2021 à 16:34 | Read 636 times

From the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region to Tunisia, via Spain, institutions and innovation stakeholders are working more closely together to counter the effects of the pandemic and prepare for the post Covid-19 world. Version française

An Italian engineer transformed a Decathlon diving mask into a respirator mask to help hospitals (photo: Twitter)
An Italian engineer transformed a Decathlon diving mask into a respirator mask to help hospitals (photo: Twitter)
“The health crisis has shown the importance of innovation skills and networks across the Mediterranean in finding solutions amid the pandemic,” points out Anima Investment Network general delegate Emmanuel Noutary, who hails the “excellent collaboration between public and private sectors in certain countries.”
One example comes from the director of the Business Innovation Unit at the Catalan Agency for Business Competitiveness ACCIO Àurea Rodriguez. “With very few resources, we set up a network of companies who agreed to work together towards solving the most pressing problems,” she says. “Logistics, the lack of protective equipment, field hospitals, respirators… It was a wonderful example of the collective force we will need to produce once this pandemic is over.”

This resilience and capacity for innovation is going to become even more central to strategies of attractiveness in Mediterranean countries, especially where relocation of value chains is concerned. In Tunisia, for example, the 2018 Start-Up Act, aimed at boosting innovation and start-ups, was the result of public-private consultations.
In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, the passing of a law on alternative financing - or crowdfunding- added to the act by allowing the creation of platforms to fund these innovative projects,” points out Tunisian Foreign Investment Agency FIPA’s sales director Zied Lahbib. “These initiatives show the importance of a concerted approach by public and private sectors to put in place efficient tools to promote innovation development,” he adds.

Reinforcing the pooling of public and private resources

Economic recovery, the fight against climate change, the transition to a circular economy, a drastic reduction in poverty and inequality are all objectives we could achieve much more easily if we apply what we have learned these past months. Cooperation will allow us to overcome the challenges facing future generations,” argues Àurea Rodriguez. She underlines that “solid value chains rely on assets that are not easily displaced. In this respect, education, technological hubs, the sharing of knowledge and open innovation are key factors in attracting talent, on which business are founded.”
For Jean-François Royer, "competitive clusters and business accelerator-incubators, through their knowledge of industry sectors and companies and the excellent support they provide, are major players.” In the face of the crisis, the Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur Region economic development agency risingSUD, which he heads, has decided to “reinforce the pooling of resources. This has meant involving these entities in the running of the regional agency.”

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