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Bilbao's AS Fabrik project reaches maturity

The initiative aims to turn the largest Basque city into a digital economy hub

  • July 09, 2020 18:30
  • Author Tzvetozar Vincent Iolov
Medium bilbao as fabrik

This week sees the end of EU participation in a multi-faceted project, called AS Fabrik, in Bilbao. The initiative, which was begun with European funds nearly four years ago, will conclude its incubation stage with the last meeting of its Steering Committee. After that, it will operate independently with a seat on the Zorrotzaurre island.

Bilbao will become synonymous with advanced business services

The Bilbao City Council, in partnership with various public and private organizations, will oversee the physical part of the project. The Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) lab of the EC which had provided the main consultation and 80% of the EUR 5.8 million budget will withdraw to allow for an independent continuity henceforth.

People involved in the process have described it as a coming of age rather than an ending. The name AS Fabrik alludes to the fact it is meant to be “a factory for the creation of advanced services for the manufacturing industry in alliance with the business sector, universities, local service providers and entrepreneurs, as well as the Basque industry,” as they described it.

Refurbishing a building called BETA 2, located on the isle of Zorrotzaurre, in what used to be an abandoned industrial part of the city, AS Fabrik will sit side by side another famous project – DIGIPEN, better known as the University of Videogames.

The building will serve as the meeting hub for four interrelated activities:

  • Educational programs, which will be provided by the University of Mondragon,
  • Networking hub, where the main public and private stakeholders can meet, generate ideas and establish partnerships,
  • Support and consultancy for start-ups in Bilbao involved in the transformation of the traditional manufacturing in the city to meet the demands of Industry 4.0,
  • Market analysis, testing and validation for ideas, services and products aimed at providing smart solutions demanded by the local industries.

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