There has never been so much talk about business innovation as in recent times. Many years ago, when talking about innovation, the risks were weighed more than the opportunities. Today it is the other way around. Innovating is an obligation so as not to run the risk of being left behind. Innovating also means being a pioneer, being the first, a condition that requires a good dose of courage and daring. Innovating is not just inventing, it is also creating new tools by adding or combining existing ones in a different way.
I will allow myself to refer to a formula that we have promoted in Andorra and that has already reaped good results. The principality is an attractive country for new non-traditional businesses, linked to innovation and knowledge. Due to its geographical dimensions, the agility of its banking system, the security of the environment... Some years ago, at Crèdit Andorrà, we created an investment vehicle aimed at entrepreneurial projects, characterized by having a differential technology and/or a validated and scalable business model, which we baptized as Scale Lab Andorra. It was just the first stone.
From this first instrument, we move towards another pioneering project, an innovation hub that is aligned with the Andorran will to complement economy and knowledge with new activities with high added value, which can open up new opportunities. It is about generating and sharing knowledge so that small and medium-sized companies in the country and start-ups, from the country or abroad, find new ways of mutual collaboration, building an entrepreneurial ecosystem that improves the time-to-market of projects.
The objective is clear: innovate to generate new businesses and be able to attract investment. This project helps companies in the country to identify, through an innovation methodology, the new challenges that arise, and after this analysis, they are proposed to collaborate with start-ups that are capable of responding to these challenges, benefiting from the knowledge they can provide in aspects such as new trends, technology and agility. On the other hand, and as far as start-ups are concerned, they are offered growth opportunities, thanks to contact with companies in the country with which they can open channels of collaboration. Ultimately, both parties win.
The project, which began at the beginning of the year, identified more than 700 Andorran companies from different business sectors that could form part of the innovation hub and 42 start-ups, Andorran and foreign, with the potential for mutual collaboration with said companies. From there eleven proposals for collaboration arose.
Now, the next step is to continue working to make possible a sandbox, a regulated testing space, where companies can test their business models to innovate in the provision of services. In short, a safe test environment, in which you can experiment and test the effectiveness of new products, programs or technologies.
I am convinced that, today, the business model for greater competitiveness must be inspired by innovation, bringing together talents and having enough vision to try to turn into partners those whom we only considered as possible competitors.