EKIN+, supporting entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into business projects through collaborative making.
EKIN+ aims to help entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into business projects, and then to accelerate the maturation of innovative and technology based projects. “Collaborative making” takes place in cooperation with the research centres involved in the programme Ekin+. Within this framework, start-ups and business cooperate together to develop and brush up ideas and prototypes.
EKIN+ Entrepreneurship is based in two facilities. The incubation phase is carried out in Puntu Denda and the acceleration phase is run in EKIN+, a temporary residence for researchers.
Users of the incubation programme are young entrepreneurs (aged 18 to 31) wishing to turn their business ideas in true business projects. Users of the acceleration programme (EKIN+) are entrepreneurs planning to set up a company or having set a company recently (less than 5 years). The business projects must be innovative or technology based.
The incubation of business ideas brings entrepreneurs (the makers in this programme) through three phases, concept or idea (understanding the basics of entrepreneurship and identifying the business concept), development (developing the business idea and the team), and growth (consolidation of the company). The incubation programme runs each year 5 months and with about 20 participants, and the acceleration programme is a 2 month programme, with 6 projects in each edition.
The programme has 100% public funding provided by the Donostia-San Sebastián Municipality. The annual costs of the programme are:
Puntu Denda (incubation): 30.000 euros/year
EKIN+ (acceleration): 100.000 euros /year
- Subsidies: 50.000 euros
- Coaching/workshops/mentoring: 50.000 euros
Evidence of success
The EKIN+ Programme has become a recognised feature of the local economic development policy. Since 2017, 12 start-up have been set up ‘making’ their own products:
a) one of the enterprises participating in the programme, Naru Intelligence, a start-up specialized in the development of big data solutions for precision medicine is now developing their first Step product.
b) Another example is MyRuns, a race search engine that has information on running competitions, mountain races and triathon.
Potential for learning or transfer
A programme such as EKIN+ could be implemented in any other city. It does not require special facilities or equipment, and the approach and methodologies can be adapted to other contexts. In fact, it is possible that EKIN+ will be enlarged with other programmes targeting specific sectors or activities, specific weaknesses or needs of the local business and entrepreneurs.
Also, it has to be taken into account that EKIN+ programmes are very intensive, and they require full commitment of participants, who are selected through a very demanding recruitment process to choose innovative and engaged entrepreneurs, particularly for the incubation phase. In the acceleration phase, the entrepreneurs have a strong motivation to push their project forward, and therefore they are very committed to the programme.