For ambitious entrepreneurs, getting a startup off the ground can be incredibly difficult. Having access to a platform that provides fundamental support and advice is crucial. This is why Programa Primer from Catalunya Emprèn, a public initiative that acts as a catalyst for startups in Catalonia during their first three years, is having such an impact on new businesses.
With a wide network of useful contacts and a deep knowledge of business within the region, Catalunya Emprèn acts as a mentor and guide for innovative new ventures. They offer support and advice and provide important services for entrepreneurs looking to kick start their business. Through these actions, they seek to promote the growth of local communities through entrepreneurship. One of the most important ways in which they stimulate growth in the Catalan entrepreneurial ecosystem is the Programa Primer.
What is the Programa Primer?
The Programa Primer is a network of “pre-accelerators” in Catalonia that help aspiring founders to create startups; it is currently made up of 16 different initiatives (the PRIMER Network). The pre-accelerators provide specialized enterprise programs that offer training and mentoring activities to entrepreneurs to enable them to “pre-accelerate” their ideas – in other words, to get them off the ground. Using Barcelona as an example of a global tech/business hub made up of innovative, technology-driven companies, Programa Primer’s central objective is to stimulate the creation of similar startup ecosystems throughout the region.
Xarxa Primer not only funds these pre-accelerator programs: it also acts as an overseer. Alongside its funding role, it provides advice on how best to incubate new startups, organizes meetings and roundtables, and helps startups to participate in important startup events and conferences.
What makes the Programa Primer such an important initiative for startups in Catalonia?
Acting as a catalyst for business growth, the Programa Primer is helping to bring about a more competitive Catalonia. It is highlighting the importance of local programs and social initiatives that are often underfunded and underused. Above all, they are demonstrating the importance of collaboration, as well as entrepreneurship and technology, in modern business.
The benefits of the program can be seen throughout its network – from its roots all the way through to each new business. Programa Primer pinpoints a select group of organizations who offer outstanding services for entrepreneurs. These ‘pre-accelerators’ receive funding and support from Catalunya Emprèn, to augment the training and mentoring they provide in their field of specialization. This gives them the chance to make an even bigger impact. Each pre-accelerator has one or more companies or entities that act as a lever or springboard for their projects. These projects are also created with the assistance of an external consultancy.
The pre-accelerators give entrepreneurs access to a wealth of knowledge and support that they would otherwise lack. This, in turn, creates a hub of startups who can develop their ideas successfully and eventually form a thriving ecosystem that supports the local community.
The PRIMER Network
The PRIMER network consists of 16 wide ranging programs and initiatives, each contributing to the support and development of startups in Catalonia. They are:
- Indesup Tech: a support program for the creation and consolidation of new companies in the sports industry in Catalonia
- Enginy: an entity that specializes in the creation of solutions for innovative theme parks
- Connected Car Living Lab: a specialist in the motor industry, who provide training on everything from vehicle technology to business management
- Automoció 4.0: a training and educational platform specializing in advanced materials and their associated technologies within the automotive sector
- EduTECH Emprèn: a tech platform that supports the development of innovative business ideas in the e-learning sector
- NewTalent: an initiative offering training, funding and personalized tutorials in the maritime and marine business sector
- De la Ciència al Mercat: a program that promotes scientific entrepreneurship and technological innovation
- AI4ALL: a program that combines technical and strategic training to enable startups in Catalonia to collaborate using AI technologies
- Catalonia Drone Camp: specialized training and development in the field of drone technologies
- Texinnova: an initiative that fosters the creation of startups in the textile industry via training and specialized technical, commercial and financial support
- Smart PAE: an entity focusing on education and development in ‘Polygons of Economic Activity’ and smart cities
- Smart Beach: a program that stimulates growth and provides mentorship for startups in the beach and leisure industry
- CivicHub: a civic innovation, decentralized technologies and governance pre-acceleration program aimed at empowering change-makers, startups and experts to decentralize governance
- Figueres Food Talent: specialized training, technical and commercial support, and financing for gastronomy entrepreneurs
- Smart Towns: a training program on intelligent, integrated and sustainable urban development, using innovation and technology to support local towns and villages
- MediaLab: a project to promote entrepreneurship in the field of digital journalism
During this latest edition of Programa Primer, they are looking to strengthen the PRIMER Network, integrating new pre-accelerators, and expanding its territorial reach and range of sectors. Currently, the call for Programa Primer has already been closed and they are now reviewing all the applications to decide which pre-accelerators will be part of the new edition. Stay tuned, or better, sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know what the final line-up of the PRIMER network looks like.