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The Port Entrepreneurship International Congress of Opentop consolidates open innovation in the sector

The Port Entrepreneurship International Congress
  • Opentop, an initiative led by the Valenciaport Foundation, held the Port Entrepreneurship International Congress within the framework of the Valencia Digital Summit
  • Mar Chao, president of the Port Authority of Valencia, opened the event thanking the sector for its commitment to innovation
  • During the event, the creation of the hub network “Port Innovators Network” was announced, which includes the Port of Hamburg (homePORT), the Port of Halifax (ThePIER) and the Port of Valencia (Opentop)

Valencia 27th October 2023. – Yesterday, October 26th Opentop, the innovation hub of Valenciaport, hosted the Port Entrepreneurship International Congress as part of the 6th edition of the Valencia Digital Summit, bringing together nearly 100 managers from the port logistics sector at national and international level.

The objective was to analyze challenges and opportunities in the sector, discuss innovation in the blue economy and analyze strategies of national and international companies to grow hand in hand with the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The conference was inaugurated by Mar Chao, president of the Port Authority of Valencia, who stressed that “Entrepreneurship is more in demand than ever. In a technology-driven society, combining innovation and sustainability is not only feasible, but imperative. Startups can contribute by providing new solutions that help us, as individuals and as organizations, to adapt more quickly to the challenges we face in areas such as digital transformation and energy transition.”

Juan Manuel Díez Orejas, head of Strategic Planning and Innovation of the Port Authority of Valencia, made a presentation on the role of ports as drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship.

During the day, also took part as speakers Eduardo Valença, from Wilson Sons, giving his experience in the search for port and maritime startups; Daniel Olivier, from Novarium, who gave his vision of the blue economy as a driver of innovation and business opportunities; and Belén Pérez Santolaria, from Telefónica Ventures, who gave a global perspective of the investment in maritime and port startups, as well as the situation and main trends of the venture capital investment in the sector.

The roundtable “Challenges and Trends in the Maritime, Port and Logistics Industry” brought together professionals such as Philippe Isler of the World Economic Forum; Mark Assaf of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; and Gadi Benmoshe of the IAPH Data Collaboration Committee and Aeler. The panel, moderated by Phanthian Zuesongdham of the Hamburg Port Authority, focused on analyzing current challenges in the port logistics sector and identifying disruptive trends and opportunities for innovation, as well as the role of innovation itself in the blue economy.

The second roundtable focused on the role of the industry, its experiences and best practices applying innovation in the sector, and was attended by Ignacio Huet, from Cosco Shipping Ports Spain and Francisco J. Grau, from TMEIC.

The startup ecosystem

The day included the intervention of representatives of powerful startups that explained how innovation is part of successful solutions for the ecosystem, among them, i4sea, MION Technologies, NextPort.AI, and SEAPort Solutions. Also present were startups such as Gandolapp, Sensing Tools, Metric Salad and Code Contract, all of them participants in Opentop’s incubation and acceleration programs, which have solved challenges in the port logistics sector in collaboration with entities such as Boluda Corporación Marítima, Cosco Shipping Ports España, as advisor, and the Port Authority of Valencia.

In addition, several round tables were organized around the role of startups and innovation in this challenge, highlighting the announcement of the hub network “Port Innovators Network” by the innovation hubs of the Port of Hamburg (homePORT), the Port of Halifax (ThePIER) and the Port of Valencia (Opentop).

In addition, entrepreneurs shared their experiences in starting up their businesses, their main learnings, the difficulties they faced, and how to overcome obstacles and achieve success at a table that brought together Bruno Balbi from i4SEa, Xavier des Miniéres from, and representatives from The PIER and homePORT.

There was also an opportunity to discuss investment opportunities in the sector, highlighting the latest technologies that are transforming the port logistics industry and identifying strategies to attract investment in port-related start-ups. This roundtable was attended by Nir Gartzman, from theDOCK, Paloma Castellano, from Wayra Madrid, Oliver Risse, from HHLA Next and Christian Ull, from Area 101.

On public funding opportunities for startups in the sector, Eva Pérez, from Fundación Valenciaport and Ekke VAN VLIET from the European Commission, EISMEA, EIC (Fund) spoke to review public-private partnerships and funding opportunities for startups from public initiatives.

In the session, it was also announced the imminent launch of the next Opentop acceleration program, which will select the best startups to solve tangible and concrete challenges that the port logistics sector is currently facing.

The day ended with the intervention of Salvador Furió, deputy director of the Valenciaport Foundation and director of Innovation and Development of the Cluster, who highlighted the success of the day and encouraged companies in the sector to continue collaborating with Opentop and to boost their innovation.

Sede APV - Edificio III, Avda. del Muelle del Turia, s/n
46024, Valencia (Spain)
Tel.: +34 96 393 94 00


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