DigiON Canarias opens its doors with the challenge of positioning Gran Canaria as a pole of digital growth

  • DigiON Canarias has been inaugurated by the president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, in a day with panels and presentations by international experts.
  • The winners of the UNWTO Startups competition for island destinations and specialised mentoring will be decided at the show, which is being held today and tomorrow at Infecar.

The first edition of the Canary Islands Business Digitalisation Show, DigiON Canarias, opened its doors today at Infecar with the challenge of positioning Gran Canaria as a pole of digital growth, as expressed by the president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, at its inauguration.

Digital technology “has transformed our lives and will continue to do so in the coming years”, because “the economic future of Gran Canaria, jobs, sustainability, wage levels, prosperity, cost of living, productivity and the ability to compete in other markets depend on the continued and growing success in digital technology”. The “necessity and urgency” of digital transformation is “vital” because it brings “a wealth of opportunities to improve lives” and to strengthen the overall productivity, competitiveness and future sustainability of the business base,” the island president said.

The digital transformation “will help to maintain an innovative and resilient business fabric”, which is “essential” for “creating highly skilled jobs and employment opportunities”. In this process, he stressed, “there is still a lot of room for improvement”, but “there is a clear awareness of where we need to go”. In this regard, the president of the Gran Canaria Island Council highlighted some of the island projects aimed at this goal, such as the Inverpyme initiative, the High Technology Incubator 5.0 in the marine and maritime field, the SITGRAN initiative and Gran Canaria Isla Inteligente, with a total of 23 projects being developed and an investment of approximately 21 million euros. The digital transformation has the role of “preparing us for the economy and society of tomorrow”, projecting “a future of digitalisation, innovation and technification” and especially, “protecting and empowering citizens, businesses and society as a whole”, he stressed.

The Canary Islands Business Digitalisation Show, DigiON Canarias, has brought together more than 650 participants in an event that responds to the needs of the digital sector and aims to serve as a platform and space for connection between the different agents and the SME network. As the director of Infecar, Natalia Santana, explained, this show “is aimed at the professional public, although all those with an interest in the field of digitalisation will be part of it, providing an opportunity to find and learn about new solutions, suppliers, and receive personalised advice and mentoring”.

“Funding is available, now is the time”.

The Canary Islands Business Digitalisation Show, DigiON Canarias has kicked off with the panel on ‘The lines of aid for digitalisation’ which has served as a meeting point for entrepreneurs, investors and startups.  The panel was attended by the Managing Director of the Economic Promotion Society of Gran Canaria (SPEGC), Cosme García; the Director of the Canary Islands Agency for Research, Innovation and the Information Society (ACIISI), Carlos Navarro; the Head of Institutional Promotion and Territorial Cooperation of the CDTI, Emilio Iglesias; the Director of Innovation and Digital Transformation, Anecto Falcón; the Foreign Promotion technician of Proexca, Pablo de la Joya; and the Director of RED.es Digital Economy, Luis Prieto.

The director of the ACIISI, Carlos Navarro, pointed out that in the Canary Islands there is “aid that is very easy to obtain and that has a real impact”, since in the last year “250 people have been hired in 250 companies in the province of Las Palmas”. In addition to regional and state aid, European funds have been added, making the current moment “a great opportunity”. As he pointed out, “there is nothing more profitable than digitising processes”, the challenge is to work on “what for, and to make progress in this fundamental productivity that will mark the future” of business. It is not the same thing to “digitise as to digitally transform”.

In this line, the director of Innovation and Digital Transformation of the Chamber of Commerce of Gran Canaria, Anecto Falcón, has pointed out the importance of intermediaries such as the Chamber to “see the opportunities available and see what is the best line and if it is time to apply for certain grants”. The Chamber helps to understand the “how and what for” that companies require. The same idea was shared by the head of Institutional Promotion and Territorial Cooperation of the CDTI, Emilio Iglesias, who emphasised the “extensive financing with stable and recurrent funds from the centre”, which together with European funds “are a great opportunity to finance digitisation projects”.

The demand and need is real, as highlighted by the director of Digital Economy RED.es, Luis Prieto, who highlighted the great response of the Digital Kit vouchers with “more than 12,000 applications and more than 6,500 companies that have already received it” and with “more than enough digitising agents on the islands to make the leap”. Proexca’s Foreign Promotion technician, Pablo de la Joya, pointed out that the SME ecosystem needs consultancy for “the adventure of internationalisation”, which must “necessarily go hand in hand with digitisation”.

Among the challenges posed by these lines of aid are the execution times, the need to streamline the call processes and to connect and advise each company and project with the line of aid that best suits their needs and according to their level of maturity, among other aspects.

“It is easier to carry out cybercrime than to protect ourselves from it”.

The head of cybersecurity services at INCIBE-Instituto Nacional de Ciberseguridad, Marco Antonio Lozano, was in charge of the presentation #tendenciasdeciberseguridad, which advanced the most common problems, technologies and solutions. Cybersecurity “must be linked to habits of good practice”, with the aim that “society is much more cybersecure and has solutions and help to solve these problems”. Promoting digital trust, providing support and response to incidents, and developing new technologies are some of INCIBE’s lines of action.

“It is easier to carry out cybercrime than to protect ourselves from it”, which is why the promotion and detection of talent is one of its main objectives, he stressed. Lozano warned that cybercrime accounts for 1% of the world’s GDP, making it a profitable business and a problem faced by all companies in the ecosystem. Among the new trends, Lozano highlighted Artificial Intelligence for illegitimate purposes, ransmware or fileless malware campaigns, among others. “Small companies tend to think that they are out of the cybercrime spotlight and they are often the most susceptible to these crimes”.

Also during the day, the director of the Centre for Analysis and Prospective of the Civil Guard, Enrique Ávila, will address the ‘Risks and threats of the digital age’, or ‘Artificial Intelligence’, its potential and possibilities, by the founder and CEO Saturno Labs, Natalia Rodríguez, as well as ‘Digital identities through avatars and the new universe of the metaverse’ with the CEO of Union Avatars, Cai Felip.

Specialised mentoring

DigiON Canarias hosts the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) startup competition for island destinations, in which international companies participate to provide digital solutions to meet the new challenges of the 21st century. For these companies, the Business Digitalisation Show is a great opportunity with a programme of specialised mentoring that will delve into topics such as trends in Travel Tech for tourism impact, investment criteria and success stories, business opportunities for Travel Tech startups in the Canary Islands, the future of tourism and the key challenges for tourism agents and raising and attracting investors, among others.

The second and final day of DigiON Canarias, tomorrow, Thursday 16th, will be the setting for the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) startup competition for island destinations, which will decide the winning projects in its two categories: new technologies applied to sustainability and innovation and digitalisation solutions for island destinations.

The spokesperson for the office of the Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Isabel María Oliver, will take part on Thursday 16 March, and a wide-ranging programme will be held until the official closing of the event, including two panels with experts and professionals from the sector, among other specialised presentations.

The Canary Islands Business Digitalisation Show, DigiON Canarias, is promoted and financed by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria and organised by Infecar, Feria de Gran Canaria, thanks to the support of the official collaborator Cajasiete; the Sociedad de Promoción Económica de Gran Canaria (SPEGC), Inetel, Archipiélago Next and Proexca as sponsors and the collaboration of the Chamber of Commerce of Gran Canaria, and the participation of UNWTO and South Summit.



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