The next few years will be marked by the arrival of the European Covid 19 Next Generation EU Recovery Fund from the Union that will have to finance the projects that contribute to the reactivation and especially the digitization of the Spanish economy. Some analysts even speak of a “founding moment”, such as the one that occurred with the entry of Spain into the European Union. We talked about it with Esther Borao, general director of the Technological Institute of Aragon.
Question. In the field of digitization, what do we play as a country with the correct management and use of these funds?
Answer. Funds play an important role to be relevant in Europe as a country, but why this happens the question would be how much technology and digitization are we people prepared for? Technology really is a means, a tool that provides us with solutions and digitization helps us to be more efficient, sustainable, agile, improve processes, make better decisions, etc. Everything from the inside or to have better sales channels or relationship with the client from the outside, but also to globalization and generate new business models based on data. Digitization will play an important role in the funds, but first what is key for what: good communications and talent, that people and innovators are prepared to take on both technology and the new challenges that will come in the future.
P. What type of projects should Spain focus on in order to meet the objectives of creating quality employment and contributing to the reactivation of the economy, what criteria should prevail in the distribution and what could be those driving axes or specific sectors where Spain could have opportunity to become a benchmark?
R. We should bet on the industrial sector, because an industrialized country is more resistant to any crisis, since it has a driving effect on activity and quality jobs. It is also necessary to have a public-private collaboration, where large companies together with other agents such as technology centers also help to promote SMEs and the entire value chain in strategic sectors such as energy, mobility, health or agri-food.
Europe, for example, is promoting an industrial strategy to achieve more modern, digital and sustainable SMEs, and, for this, they are betting on the creation of tools such as Digital Innovation Hubs so that there is a specialization and digitization reaches companies, especially SMEs, and the public sector. The objective, that they help generate a new way of understanding business thanks to data, and create new products and services.
P. What are the mistakes that we should not make in the process of executing these funds to prevent what seems like a huge opportunity from turning into a big fiasco?
R. Here are 3 key factors that can cause funds not to be executed as they should: the first is that we do not have enough trained people to carry out the projects. We therefore need all the talent we have.
The second is the fear of change, especially if in many cases it is going to give you a return in the long term, which in addition to fear causes it not to be seen as a priority. Thirdly, we find that the administration does not promote and promote it in an agile way and in all parts of the territory. Innovation, doing things differently from what we have done so far, requires new mechanisms that help us move faster as a country.