A total of 333 Catalan companies are taking part this year in 4YFN and the MWC, the world’s top technology event, which is being held next week in Barcelona, according to figures from ACCIÓ, the Ministry of Business and Labour’s agency for business competitiveness. To be specific, 70 companies, technology centres and organisations will have a stand at MWC 2023, and 263 start-ups will be attending 4YFN.
This was revealed this morning by the Minister for Business and Labour, Roger Torrent i Ramió, after holding a meeting with a group of Catalan companies taking part in 4YFN with the Generalitat’s support. Accompanied by the Secretary for Digital Policy, Gina Tost i Faus, and the Secretary for Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ, Albert Castellanos i Maduell, Torrent got a first-hand look at the tech projects to be showcased at the event.
The Minister stated that “in the same way that the MWC would seem inconceivable without Barcelona, Barcelona would be inconceivable without the MWC: it is the major gateway that connects Catalan companies with the international technology sector, and a great opportunity to continue underlining the fact that Catalonia and Barcelona continue to be a true hub of technology and start-up creation on a global scale”. Torrent highlighted the fact that the “MWC is the epicentre of the connectivity industry and that of new technologies, and the figures point to the fact that this year’s event will not only be one of recovery but also the one that showcases our country and our business ecosystem”.
More companies in the Generalitat’s pavilions
Torrent announced that this year the Generalitat will be supporting the participation of 104 companies and start-ups at the MWC and 4YFN, 20% more than in 2022. They will be hosted at the two pavilions supported by the Ministry of Business and Labour at the MWC and 4YFN with the aim of finding investors, reaching out to partners and new clients, enhancing their visibility and opening up new international markets. Specifically, 48 companies will be hosted at the Generalitat’s pavilion at the MWC, and 56 at the one at 4YFN. Of the 50 or so start-ups taking part in 4YFN, 36 are from a range of business areas and will be hosted at the ACCIÓ stand, while the remaining 20 specialise in the health sector. In this latter case, the Generalitat is supporting them in collaboration with Biocat and the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia (AQuAS). You will find the list of participating companies here.
According to Torrent, the Generalitat’s support for these 100+ companies “is a key factor in supporting this business sector, especially those that are just getting up and running, start-ups like the ones we have seen today, so that they have the chance to explain what they do and mingle with the entire sector in such a way that we can help them to grow these business projects”.
Live demonstration of AI applied to robots for people-related services
Minister Torrent also revealed details of the live demonstration that will take place at the Generalitat’s pavilion at the MWC this year, with which ”the Government wants to showcase its strategic commitment to promoting artificial intelligence, one of the advanced digital technologies that will have the biggest impact on society and the country’s economy”.
With the slogan “When artificial intelligence connects with people”, the Generalitat’s pavilion at the MWC will feature a live demonstration consisting of a dramatized staging with audiovisual elements of three scenes from the everyday lives of two individuals (an older man and his daughter) who interact with three robots equipped with AI in their home, at work, and in a medical setting. According to Torrent, with this demo”visitors can see for themselves how AI integrated in robots and used innovatively can ease people’s daily lives in different settings, whether domestic, professional or medical, and moreover it can do so in Catalan”.
The Generalitat is steering its commitment to AI through the Artificial Intelligence Strategy of Catalonia, Catalonia.AI, headed by the Ministry of Business and Labour. The strategy features various different initiatives and projects with a twofold objective: to strengthen the Catalan AI ecosystem so it becomes a hub of innovation and leadership, attracting talent and investments, and to promote the adoption of this technology by the Government, the productive sector and the country’s research centres in order to improve business competitiveness and people’s lives.
It is estimated that by 2030 AI will add a further 15.7 trillion dollars to the global GDP, but only the countries that have invested in its development and implementation will be able to take advantage of this impact. ”Catalonia has a strategy, it is doing its homework, and this will result in increased economic growth, more quality jobs, and greater well-being for our citizens”, underlined Torrent.
The demonstration ”When artificial intelligence connects with people” will be presented officially at the Digital Catalonia pavilion on the first day of the MWC and will be repeated during the four days of the congress, from 27 February to 2 March.
The impact of the MWC on Catalan companies
Since the very first Mobile World Congress in 2006, the Generalitat has facilitated the participation of 339 Catalan companies in the event. As a whole, these companies have doubled their turnover and increased their workforce by 38% compared to their first time at the congress.
With regard to the 4YFN event, since 2015 ACCIÓ has supported 157 start-ups in presenting their new technological products at the show. These start-ups have tripled their turnover, more than doubled their workforce, and accrued more than 320 million euros since their first attendance of the event.
As part of the event, ACCIÓ is organising the MWC Open Innovation Challenge, a series of meetings whose objective is to bring Catalan and international enterprises into contact with major corporations to foster open innovation. A total of 41 corporations will be involved, 16 of them Catalan (including Agbar and Fluidra), and 25 international (such as AstraZeneca, Samsung, Sony and BMW), in the search for solutions to around 100 technological challenges. It is anticipated that around 450 meetings will be held between corporations and solutions providers.