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Quebec’s Novarium partners with the Port of Barcelona on blue economy


Novarium, the Quebec-based innovation hub dedicated to the blue economy, is delighted to announce the creation of a strategic partnership with the Port of Barcelona. Along with strengthening the relationship between Quebec and Barcelona, this partnership will provide startups supported by Novarium with access to the Port of Barcelona’s Blue Sandbox. In addition, the relationship has been structured to serve as a catalyst for non-dilutive investment funding from Spain’s Ports 4.0 Fund, the largest capital pool in Europe dedicated to port-based open innovation challenges.

The parties signed the agreement on November 9 in Barcelona, at Smart Ports: Piers of the Future 2023. This event is focussed on port infrastructure innovation. It brings together representatives from some 20 international ports making significant advances in the blue economy sector – integrating artificial intelligence and sustainable solutions to optimize their supply-chain management processes.

Barcelona has developed an ambitious blue economy strategy

With its ambitious blue economy strategy, the City of Barcelona and its Port are demonstrating their leadership in this promising economic sector. Last July, the Port of Barcelona and Tech Barcelona launched BlueTechPort, a new innovation space for companies conceived to foster innovation in all sectors related to the blue economy. Through this collaborative approach, BlueTechPort expects that participating start-ups will be positioned to benefit from all the advantages available through this ecosystem. This provides a further example of the network of alliances on which the Port of Barcelona is building its open innovation strategy.

This vision of the future, reinforced by the highly collaborative support of the blue economy sector adopted by Barcelona and the whole of Catalonia, serves as inspiration for Quebec as it pursues its own promising blue economy vision.

A beneficial partnership for Québec internationally

The Bureau du Québec à Barcelone played a key role in fostering and facilitating this partnership, through its deep connections with Barcelona’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. For more than a year, Novarium and the Bureau collaborated with CENIT-CIMNE, a high-profile player in logistics and port research which has played an important long-term role with the innovation department of the Port of Barcelona. This relationship, in turn, laid the foundation for this promising partnership centred on development of the blue economy in Quebec and internationally.

Thanks to this collaboration agreement, Quebec will forge closer ties with the Catalan capital, given that the startups supported by Novarium will be able to operate from Barcelona and benefit from that city’s assets. These include connections with investors in the region and access to a network of research and development infrastructures. As well, this deepened relationship provides Catalan startups with opportunities to link with the North American ecosystem and thus enlarge their market reach and take advantage of the infrastructure available in Quebec.

Photo from left to right :Emma Cobos, Director of Innovation and Business Strategy, Port of Barcelona; Maël Solen Picard, Director and head of the Bureau du Québec à Barcelone ;Lluís Salvadó Tenesa,  President, Port of Barcelona ;Martin Beaulieu, CEO, La Zone Bleue ;Sergi Tudela, Director General of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Government of Catalonia.