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Barcelona city Council launch the Blue-Up programme

The programme got underway with activities for investors on board the cruise ship Costa Smeralda, one of the four vessels powered by liquid natural gas (LNG) which have made Grup Costa a global pioneer in this technology.

25/10/2022 - 10:42 h

Barcelona City Council, through Barcelona Activa and in collaboration with Port de Barcelona and Costa Cruceros, has launched the first edition of Blue-Up. The programme provides support and advice for eleven blue-sector projects looking to develop and validate their business models. As part of its strategy to help the blue economy grow in the city, Barcelona City Council is seeking to boost business programmes in this sphere which have the capacity to generate jobs and add vitality to the city’s maritime activity.

After an intensive process of seminars and tests, the eleven projects were chosen and today mark the beginning of the programme on board the Costa Smeralda, one of the four vessels powered by liquid natural gas (LNG) which have made Grup Costa a global pioneer in this technology.

Head of the Councillor’s Office for Tourism and Creative Industries, Xavier Marcé, noted that projects of this type are entirely in line with the Strategy to Drive the Blue Economy since they back “a sustainable maritime economy in the city and foster enterprise, innovation, talent and jobs linked to the sea”. Marcé also noted that “the blue economy is here to stay”, and “it would be a mistake not to capitalise on its huge potential”, explaining that hosting the next edition of the America’s Cup will mean a major transformation for the city, the idea being for this to “go much further than simple economic benefits”. The Councillor also made the case for “the importance of educating city residents about the blue economy”. Marcé emphasised the need to implement “innovating teaching elements in schools and to make people understand that to talk about the blue economy is to talk about a more reasonable, sustainable and rational way of understanding the planet”.

The vice-chair for Corporate Relations and Sustainability of Costa Cruceros, Rossella Carrara, affirmed that “sustainability is a cross-cutting element which forms part of everything we do at Costa. Our strategy aims to support the transformation of our ecosystem towards a more sustainable development of the blue economy, fostering research and development and speeding up the innovative solutions of start-ups and the academic world ”.

The projects to receive mentoring, training and sessions with investors as from today are:

  • Toroi Marine: A project on high-precision naval propulsion.
  • Softwarine (Seven to six): Digital transformation software for the nautical sector and marine environments.
  • Keep Boat Afloat: Software for the visual and interactive synthesis of the owner’s boat manual, the goal being that navigators, charter companies, nautical insurers and shipbuilders have access to a useful tool on their mobile device to analyse defects and act in emergencies.
  • Meditmin: A registered trademark, very similar to traditional fertiliser but based on a natural component from waste generated by salt pans. This project centres on the open-loop circular blue economy. It is based on a patent which nourishes and strengthens the plant, makes it more resistant to drought and consequently reduces the need to use pesticides, increasing the nutritional value of the product in question.
  • Noster: Sailing club using an app to democratise the nautical world, providing access to yachts and motorboats.
  • SOS Bag: Sustainable fashion brand for designing and making bags and accessories for sea lovers, reusing waste lifesaving inflatables to creatively make new products of better quality and greater ecological worth.
  • 3D Port: Revaluation of plastic waste from the sea and from the port and its surroundings, to offer useful solutions in the logistics and port sector. Products will be made in an innovation hub at the port, with 3D printing using recycled plastic from the sea.
  • Sup2Go: A new bookings app for water sports and at the same time a Smart SURF Centre, acting as a smart system to help SUP or surf lovers to enjoy their sport through the self-management of bookings, payments and collection and return of equipment at the chosen time, without having to rely on deadlines and the staff.
  • Blue Jobs: Jobsearch platform specialising in the marine and maritime sectors on a European level.
  • Big Blue: Sports and workwear made from waste plastics, most of it from our oceans. Students from the Escola Lexia in Barcelona and people on the RGM programme carry out placements in our workshop. Big Blue Barcelona promotes the social and solidarity economy, backing the sustainable economy and local consumption.
  • Share Your Board: Collaborative digital platform within the framework of the sustainable blue economy. This service is aimed at surfers. It offers its users the possibility of sharing their surfboards and paddle surf boards.

The projects will be supported with all the necessary resources, through training, networking, tutorials and tailored mentoring, with Barcelona Activa and the partners on the UPC programme, Clúster Nàutic and Seastainable Ventures. After three months, one of these start-ups will receive the award for the most sustainable start-up, which carries a monetary prize of 10,000 euros from Costa Cruceros, while another will receive the award for the most innovative start-up, which carries a monetary prize for the same amount from Port de Barcelona.

The Blue-Up programme has been designed and developed through public-private collaboration. It is part of Barcelona’s strategy for a sustainable maritime economy in the city. At the same time, the initiative seeks to drive enterprise, innovation, talent and jobs linked to the sea.

With sustainability and innovation as two of the cornerstones of its 4th Strategic Plan 2021-2025, Port de Barcelona promotes programmes such as the one presented today, which facilitate the development of new blue-economy projects. In this respect, the port is launching initiatives such as the Port de Barcelona Innovation Plan and the future Blue Tech Port, the goal of which is to attract projects to boost innovation and the digitalisation of Barcelona’s logistics and port ecosystem.