The tradition and commitment to activities related to the sea mean that the Spanish coastal cities have the ideal characteristics to position themselves as national and European benchmarks in the blue economy. Investment, modernization and the ability to develop innovative projects can be the perfect vehicle to add value to the economy and give impetus to a sector that needs to reinvent itself.

With 8,000 kilometers of coastline and some of the country’s main seafront cities, Spain has one great opportunity to develop and maintain the business structure of this growing sector.

Renewable Energy, Fisheries, Tourism and Bioeconomy

Therefore, the focus must be placed on the maritime activities committed to business and commercial growth. Among these, the European Commission highlights the generation of renewable energies, fisheries, coastal and maritime tourism and the bioeconomy. And it is that the blue economy is fully linked to the goals of the green economy and the European Green Pact. For this reason, it is defined as a set of activities that recognize the importance of the seas as a driver of the economy due to their great potential for innovation and growth from a sustainable perspective.

This modernization process must aim to encourage promotion and consolidation actions between companies in the sector, while promoting synergies between them. A boost that will in turn help the business structure to see the Blue Economy as a sector with future projection, focused on innovation and sustainability. In order to achieve this, it is necessary promote the training of employees and introduce them to a digital and technological business modelcapacity can be built up and new services can be offered.

Gijón, a unique case in Spain

Among the cities that are already active in this area, the case of Gijón stands out. And especially the brand Blue Gijon – Sea Campusthe community society, Gijon promotes. The aim is to identify and support innovative opportunities in the field of economy related to the activities related to the Cantabrian Sea, combining the industrial history of the city with new activities of high technological intensity, directly affecting the economic and social Development will have a lasting impact on the city.

One of the first steps of Gijón Impulsa was to carry out a diagnostic study aimed at elaborating a local strategy in the Blue Economy, allowing the optimal promotion of this economic sector, which has and must have a growing and important potential in the city, with the appropriate resources and with mutually agreeing on a roadmap to be followed. In this diagnostic study, the Existing business, training and research activities in Gijón related to the Blue Economy in the municipality of Gijón and the economic impact of doing business in this sector in the city is quantified.

There is a local blue economy ecosystem composed of several key players consisting of a relevant business fabric as well as various administrations and public bodies, specialized training and research centers, and port and tourism infrastructures. We are talking about the Port Authority of Gijón, the Center for Fisheries Experiments, the City Council of Gijón, the Marinas, the Aquarium, Talasoponiente, the Higher School of Civil Navy, the Polytechnic School of Engineering (EPI), the Oceanography Center of Gijón, the CIF del Mar and the Jovellanos Comprehensive Maritime Security Center, among others.

The importance of the blue economy in Gijón is overwhelming. Among other reasons for the economic contribution that reaches up to 332.8 million euros turnover, excluding coastal tourism and which reaches a turnover of 767.7 million if we include it. The first number is achieved through key activities such as the exploitation of living marine resources (fishing, aquaculture, marketing, etc.), port activities, maritime transport, ship building and maintenance, and specialized seafaring education.

They are all part of a strategic sector as 28.2% of these companies export products or services abroad and enjoy hopeful future prospects. A future in which Gijón Impulsa will play a fundamental role through its modernization services for management models, technology, innovation and business growth. Currently, 26.2% of companies are already involved in projects to develop innovation and competitiveness, along with 73.8% planning to do so in the future.

Strategic center for training and excellence in the maritime environment

In addition, the Asturian city has the support of the International Maritime Organization (depending on the United Nations Organization) in three key agents:

  • On the one hand, in secondary education, there are CIFP del Mar (Comprehensive Nautical-Fishing Training Center), Center of reference in Europe in the formation of apprenticeships related to the fisheries sector and training to enter new areas of seaport work.
  • That Civil Naval School of the University of Oviedo It is another pillar as it combines higher education in maritime related degrees. Together with the other neighboring university schools, it contributes to building a significant change in the existing economy, both through regulated education and through its research contribution.
  • In the transport sector Comprehensive Maritime Security Center “Jovellanos” (EPE Maritime Rescue and Safety Society) It is positioned as a European and international reference center in terms of training and research in the field of maritime security, with a high level of applied technology and constant innovation. The sectors it trains are very diverse, ranging from aviation, nuclear power plants or the state and military security forces to its own sphere of influence, the maritime and port sector.

Thus, Gijón is positioned as the only place in Spain and one of the few in Europe in which these requirements are met, the establishment of a training and qualification center for excellence in the maritime environment, which, together with the confluence of the business structure and the involvement of public institutions, can lead to one Environment for the creation of new sustainable, efficient seaport professions with very high added value.

About Gijon Impulsa

Gijon promotes is the municipal company of the city, responsible for the development of various actions for more than 25 years with the aim of promoting and promoting economic development and local innovation as a strategy to face the future of Gijón.

Its activity focuses on creating entrepreneurship in innovation and consolidating it through collaboration between the actors of the local innovation ecosystem, thereby promoting the city’s economic growth.

Gijón Impulsa is also the driving force behind the so-called Margarita Salas Knowledge Mile in Gijón/Xixón and the governing body of the Science and Technology Park located at its heart.

The Mile of Knowledge Margarita Salas de Gijón is a geographic space in the eastern part of the city that forms a unique innovation ecosystem and is home to more than 170 companies and public and private institutions based on knowledge to exploit the potential of the environment and where technology and science coexist with art and culture.

It therefore hosts the key elements of an innovation ecosystem such as the Gijón Science and Technology Park, which hosts a fundamentally technology-based business network, innovation support organizations including two technology centers (CTIC and IDONIAL), the research and knowledge agents formed from the university campuses Gijón, the University of Oviedo and the Cabueñes- Hospital, all together with the Cultural Agents under the umbrella of the Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura, non-university training centers such as the IES Laboral and the Vocational Training Center also of the same name, as well as the “Laboratory Center for Art and Industrial Creation” and the Atlantic Botanical Garden.