Little pigeons bring great messages: Innovation Hub Andorra is interested in cooperating with Skolkovo to play the role of the laboratory for Skolkovo startups, says Mark Pons, executive director of the Andorra’s innovation centre.
Andorra is the sixth smallest country in Europe with a population of about 70,000 people. This tiny piece of land has a potential to become one of Europe’s main laboratories of innovations, notes Mark Pons. Innovation Hub Andorra, which already cooperates with some big players in the innovation world such as MIT, Business France and Barcelona Tech City, participated in the Startup Village in Skolkovo.
Innovation Hub Andorra team arrives at Skolkovo. Photo: Sk.ru
Executive Director of the Innovation Hub Andorra, after tasting water in Skolkovo, suggests that Andorra could be a perfect place for Russian teams to try out their new innovations: “We have an environment where startup projects could be tested out in real life. Small population coupled with the governments’ interest for the new innovations provides easy access to the authorities. In some cases, it is possible to set up a company in just two days,” he says to the Sk.ru correspondent.
Mark Pons: "We have an environment where startup projects could be tested in real life." Photo: Sk.ru
Besides an opportunity to test projects, Andorra also offers their potential partners a chance to expand their market to other countries. Next Ibero-American Summit (conference of Heads of Government and State of all Spanish and Portugese speaking countries) will take place in Andorra. Therefore Andorra could be used as a window for Skolkovo startups projects to enter Latin American market.
An estimated number of tourists visiting Andorra every year is 10 million. Which means that there are around 150 visitors for each local resident. Hence, it is not surprising that tourism is the biggest industry in Andorra. “Any worthy innovation which could modify and improve our tourism industry” would be given close attention,” says executive director of Innovation Hub Andorra.
Apart from the tourism, there are several other industries, that are looking for new innovations, such as healthcare, biomed and wellness. Surprisingly big number of professional cyclists choose Andorra as place to train and live among other places with developed infrastractures, tells Sk.ru correspondent Mark Pons.
Companies in Andorra are also looking for projects, which will upgrade their retail system and for data-driven projects to improve quality of life, he concludes.
Participation in the Startup Village was the first contact between Innovation Hub of Andorra and Skolkovo Foundation. “It was a great experience for us, we also managed to exchange contact information with quite a few startup programs,” noted Executive Director.
Innovation Hub of Andorra will participate in the next Open Innovation Forum, taking place in October 2019 at the Skolkovo Technopark.