In 2021 the AspBAN(Atlantic Smart Ports Blue Acceleration Network) project was selected for funding by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund of the European Commission, responding to the objectives of the Atlantic 2.0 Action Plan of the Atlantic Strategy Committee (ASC).
The project focuses mainly on the development of a dynamic acceleration platform, helping Atlantic Ports to promote blue economy centers based on open innovation, facilitating collaboration between start-ups and ports through concrete pilot projects, which increase the chances of implementation of their solutions in port environments.
The program, with a strong implementation character and not only focused on funding and investment of start-ups, started with the identification of business challenges among its different 123 strategic partners, among which are ports, corporations, blue accelerator clusters or trade associations, among others. From this preliminary work, a total of 147 business challenges were obtained, aligned with the priorities of the Atlantic Action Plan, and which were grouped into 6 categories: Green ports and environmental capital value; Clean energy and offshore; Smartports, digital transformation and infrastructure; Traffic management, cargo and logistics; Sustainable maritime transport; and Waste management, circular economy and new business models.
Among the eligible start-ups, it was sought that they had at least a minimum viable product with which to carry out a pilot test or proof of concept in a real environment. From a total of 180 start-ups submitted, after an initial evaluation, 70 of them were selected to be part of an Online Pitch.
In particular, the Algeciras Port Authority actively participated as member of the evaluation jury in the Online Pitches , held on November 29 and 30 and December 6 and 7, which also included other ports, blue economy experts, investors and other consortium members such as the Port of Lisbon, the Port of Bilbao, the Bilbao PortLab, the Valenciaport Foundation, the Port of Gijón, the Port of Algeciras and other associations such as the AIVP, the AIVP and the Port of Gijón; associations such as AIVP, the Bluewater Network, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster or the Sustainable Ocean Alliance and companies such as Kaleido, Maeil, BNP Paribas or Faber. This jury was responsible for analyzing each of the proposals based on the product presented, the work team, the impact on the market and the fit with the needs and business challenges posed.
After the Online Pitches, 30-40 promising start-ups will be selected to be part of a Bootcamp that will take place in early 2023 at the Hydrographic Institute of Lisbon. The objective of this Bootcamp is to work together the members of the consortium and the start-ups for the co-design of the future pilot tests that will then be developed in the 33 Atlantic Ports.