EKIN+: Support program for creation, growth & consolidation of innovative start-ups in San Sebastián
About this good practice
EKIN+ is the core of FSS's comprehensive strategy to support entrepreneurship. This integrates activities to promote entrepreneurial culture (Donostia Innovation Challenge), training programs (Explorer), promotion of entrepreneurship among research staff (Outlab program), project incubation (Incubator), access to financing and investment (Elkargi) , access to national and European funding opportunities (CDTI, I. SMEs, etc.), attraction and return of Talent (Residence Program) integrating the Talent House Reception Plan (Talent House II planned in 2023), or the connection with leading international ecosystems (Boston, Turin, etc.).
In 2017, FSS carried out an evaluation and analysis of the initial impact of the program, as well as a reflection on the future. Thus, it was decided to bet on a customized 10-month co-management and support service, a key counterpoint of business and market knowledge for the promoter teams of the selected startups (mostly technologists). This change in strategy is directly responsible for a survival rate of 98.6% of the 74 companies selected in the 2017-2021 period. Since 2018, this advisory process has become specialized, and offers 60 hours of mentoring and advice with experts on critical topics.
They have priority access to the rest of the support programs: hiring of qualified young talent, strategic expenses, access to physical infrastructures, mentoring and techtransfer with local technology centers, promotion at international fairs
The total investment made in the EKIN+ program has been 1,626,896 euros, which represents an average annual investment in the acceleration of innovative projects of 327,379 euros.
This represents an average investment per project of 21,985 euros.
Evidence of success
The program shows a clear evolution, going from a budget of 53,000 euros in 2017 to a budget of 220,000 in 2021. This represents an increase of 300% in a period of 5 years. During this period, 74 projects have been selected to participate in the program (having received 135 applications), with a survival rate of 98.6%.
The evolution of the number of Ekin+ projects over the 5 years demonstrates the scalability and impact of the program, going from 5 projects in 2017 to 19 projects in 2021.
Potential for learning or transfer
The learning potential is clear since the programme has suffered a skyrocketing evolution, overcoming different setbacks and intra-learning processes. The know-how can be transferred, but the Human Resources and the budget must also be there, along with the different funds and programmes that complement Ekin+.