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 Laura González Stefani, founder and CEO of The Venture City.
Question. In the field of digitization, what do we play as a country with the correct management and use of these funds?
Answer. Spain is a country of pioneering talent, we have been historically and we are today. The problem we have always had is access to capital that bets on that pioneering or entrepreneurial spirit. Now comes capital, and the responsibility of managing it well goes far beyond government management: it is the management of our future. If we lose this opportunity or underuse it, not even four generations will be able to get ahead … We have the talent, motivation and ability to position Spain as the leading country in Technology. If with little we have managed to do so many things, what will we not be able to do with much!
P. What type of projects should Spain focus on in order to achieve 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 forces or specific sectors?
R. Engineering, especially computer programs and data intelligence. Without a doubt. Our universities have to be much more practical, and technical degrees must teach business and entrepreneurship from the first year. In turn, we must create professional training in these two disciplines. I am not at all clear that a profession is learned only in college. You learn by working.
I also believe that equitable distribution among all will not achieve anything other than perpetuate a problem that will explode sooner or later. Most of our professional infrastructure is outdated. It is not a matter of recycling or adaptation, it is a matter of unlearning to relearn everyone. Including me! The industries in which we can lead are energy, financial services, agriculture and alternative food, materials and infrastructure, cybersecurity and technology for travel and leisure.
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. Please, let us not continue giving capital to those initiatives and managers who have already been given an opportunity and did not get it. Let’s diversify and measure what happens with each euro invested, set targets and establish follow-up methods. Let’s take a risk and bet on the youngest, they are the ones who will build the future and have the energy to do so. Basically, let’s avoid doing more of the same, which we already know does NOT work.