Bluetech Accelerator – Ports and Shipping 4.0 just wrapped-up its Bootcamp phase. Bluetech is an ambitious and innovative program looking to create a new batch of ocean startups and attracted startups from all over the world.
The Bootcamp, that occurred from 24th to 28th, is an intensive work week where startups and met for the first time with the partners.
The week started with a speech from Ana Paula Vitorino, the portuguese Ministry of the Sea, who inspired the entrepreneurs with the government’s vision of developing a new blue economy, that both uses ocean resources and protects its biodiversity and sustainability.
After the first introductions, the startups received guidance from Beta-i’s team on how to build pilots in collaboration with the partners and spent their time meeting one-on-one with the partners.
This is an essential moment, where startups can dive into the partner’s business and discuss to find common goals and operations.
The Pilots Moving Forward
Of the 21 startups that joined the pilot, 15 have been chosen to move on to the pilot phase. They will be developing 23 pilots in partnership with the Bluetech Pioneers.
APDL, who administers the ports in the north of Portugal will be leading in the number of pilots – having 7 pilots being developed with several startups, followed by APS (ports in the south), with 5 pilots. These numbers clearly reflect the vertical being developed in this first edition – Ports and Shipping.
Starting next Monday, June 21st, 21 startups will be joining us at Beta-i for the Bluetech Bootcamp. The Bootcamp is an amazing opportunity to spend a week liaising with the program partners – getting to know them and their business, find common values, explore possibilities and co-create a mutually beneficial pilot.
Understand the bootcamp
The bootcamp is an essential part of any open-innovation program. In this stage, startups and partners meet in person for the first time, and will dedicate their time to know each other’s business and work together. It’s essential to go through the agenda and be ready for the different parts of the schedule in order to not miss opportunities!
Research the partners
If you applied to the program, you probably have a particular interest in working with one (or more) of the partners. It’s important to research the partners, and know as much as possible about their business, so you can take your one-on-one time to the next level, by asking all the right questions.
Be ready to learn on the workshops
On Bluetech Accelerator’s bootcamp, you’ll have the chance to attend workshops with Beta-i’s open-innovation specialists and learn how to build your pilot case. This is an essential skill in order to advance to the next stage of the program. It’s also an opportunity to share your concerns and doubts with skilled and experienced facilitators and ask for advice – they have done this before!
Take advantage of one-on-one meetings
The one-on-one meetings with the partners are extremely valuable for startups. Here, you can deepen your knowledge about the partners’ business, get a better sense of how you can help their business, and also to figure out any technical ou specific questions about the application of your solution. Also, be ready to present your business from different perspectives, tailored to each partners’ business.
Co-create the pilots
Now that you’ve learned how to build a pilot and that you know the partners well, it’s time to build your pilot proposal. Understand that the value is in the collaboration: take advantage of all moments with partners and other startups to share information and build the pilots together – making them more likely to be fulfilling or everybody’s goals and expectations.
Not everything is work, but almost! Downtime, like coffee breaks and cocktails are a perfect time to wind down, and get to know everyone personally. Connect with other successful startups and
leaders that are disrupting the Ports and Shipping industry – and keep yourself open to opportunities.
Make arrangements beforehand
Now that you’ve looked at the schedule and prepared for the bootcamp’s activities, make all your arrangements beforehand! The bootcamp has an action-packed schedule that will require your focus in order to make the best of it. So, it’s better to make all logistical arrangements – travelling, accommodation, an even have business engagements – beforehand.
Take advantage of our beautiful city, its beach, culture and food – you won’t regret it! Take a look at the handy city guide our team always sends to bootcamp participants!
The European Maritime Day (EMD) is the annual two-day event during which Europe’s maritime community meet to network, discuss and forge joint action. It targets maritime professionals, entrepreneurs and ocean leaders.
This year the event will take place on 16-17 May 2019, and it will have a special feature: Pitch Day for Bluetech Accelerator applicants.
European Maritime Day gathers all the stakeholders of the maritime economy in one place, to join together in discussing the future and finding plans of action to ensure healthy, fruitful and sustainable use of ocean resources.
The events’ themes range from sustainability (with talks on climate action, bioeconomy, and sustainable tourism in coastal areas), to innovation in maritime activities, like shipping and energy production (with panels on different techs – AI, Big Data, etc – and how they can bring new advantages and resources in these activities).
The event will include a workshop on Port Tech Clusters, powered by Bluetech Accelerator, that will explore the role of ports as hubs connecting sea and land and striving to maximize efficiency and support international supply chains. The panel will include Guilhermina Rego (President of Port of Leixões, Portugal), Christine Cabau (CEO / Présidente du Directoire Port of Marseille Fos, France), Carolien Vat-Sandee (Director/ Co-founder at PortXL – World Port Accelerator) and Xoan Martinez (CEO of Fishing Accelerator), and will be moderated by Ruben Eiras, Director General of Directorate General of Maritime Policy of the Ministry of the Sea (Portugal)..
Bluetech Accelerator is in its selection phase and one integral part of it will happen at EMD. In Pitch Day, Bluetech Accelerator applicants will pitch for the program partners, who are selecting the startups that will join the program. This pitching session is open to all attendees of EMD, which gives these startups the opportunity to be known by some of the biggest players in the maritime industry in Europe.
With startups pitching both online and some opting to join the event for a live pitch, it’s set to be an inspiring event for the development of the blue economy.
Bluetech Accelerator – Ports and Shipping 4.0 has closed its applications. An ambitious and innovative program looking to create a new batch of ocean startups, Bluetech attracted startups from all over the world.
The program received a total of 87 applications, from 29 different countries. Portugal and the United States were the most represented, with 13 startups each, followed by India, with 10 applicant startups, and Germany and the United Kingdom, showing the international reach of the program.
The challenges being tackled
Looking into the four main challenged areas that the program aims to find solutions for, we can see an overall response of more than 30% of startups tackling the challenge (with most startups tackling more than one area).
What comes next
The program has now entered its selection phase – the partners, supported by the Beta-i team, will select among the applicants 40 best startup fits to online pitch during ‘European Maritime Day’ – an annual industry-wide two-day event during which Europe’s maritime community meets to network, discuss and forge joint action. It targets maritime professionals, entrepreneurs and ocean leaders.
What follows the Online Pitch is a Bootcamp, starting on June 24th, where the selected startups will join the partners to prepare a piloting phase.
António Carvalho started his work in innovation when he joined Portugal Ventures – he is now leading Bluetech, the first Blue Economy accelerator backed by the Portuguese Ministry of the Sea.
With a background on Corporate Finance & Management, António first came in contact with innovation projects when he joined Portugal Ventures in 2012. Joining this ambitious project that aimed to launch a Startups ecosystem in Portugal that barely existed at that time, is still something he is proud of.
When he joined Beta-i, back in 2017, he took on the challenge of launching The Journey, an open-innovation program tackling the challenges of tourism, as he believed that innovating is the only way the main Tourism and Travel players can be consistently on the lead of the industry.
I’m one of those who believes Portugal can do way more to take advantage of its vast maritime border, so when the opportunity to launch a program in this field arrived, I just couldn’t say no.
When he was challenged to direct Bluetech program, he took the challenge head-on, as he believes there’s so much Portugal can do with its coast. Bluetech accelerator is an initiative of the Portuguese Ministry of the Sea and Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento (FLAD). They aligned the Portuguese Ocean Industry strategy with the interests of the six corporate partners. Which resulted in the definition of the challenges affecting Ports & Shipping 4.0 – which is the program’s first vertical. These challenges go from for Ports activity, Shipping operations and the Digital areas that connect both.
“After the needs assessment meetings with the corporate partners, four main challenges were defined: Process Optimization in Port Hinterland, which includes the concept of extended gateways, data analytics for complete vessel situational awareness and security profiling illicit activity at sea, etc; Cargo and Fleet Performance Management, which includes use of data to upgrade efficiency, use of digital twins, and product innovation; Future Shipping connectivity, which includes enabling ports to be connected and linked and creating new marketplaces; and Environmental Sustainability, challenging to reduce the environmental footprint of ports and vessels.”
Keeping these challenges in mind, the maritime industry is poised for change, and “Bluetech Accelerator can really change the industry by leveraging ocean science and R&D services for generating innovation and entrepreneurship. We can use ports as acceleration platforms for developing ocean advanced industries, integrated into global value chains, thus transforming the value matrix of Portugal’s ocean economy – and ultimately have an impact on the Portuguese economy.”
António believes that an open innovation program like this it the right way to kickstart this change, as it brings added value to all the intervenients: “The corporate partners are able to tap into the global source of innovation in their specific sector and test new disruptive solutions in collaboration with startups and other program partners. We’re actually seeing a budding capacity between the corporate partners themselves, using the program’s key moments to discuss the major innovation trends of the industry. As for startups, they get access to a group of experienced industry players, typically hard to reach, and the potential to test a solution with them and eventually get a partner that can give them easy access to the market and jumpstart their growth.”
It’s a huge opportunity for business – Ocean amounts for 97% of Portugal’s territory but only 3,1% of the gross value added
Startups, “who are looking forward to validating their product, experiment their product or solution with a big player of the industry and make it resonate with clients, it’s a huge opportunity – not only the program that allows them to strike a deal with a big client, that may get them access to a larger market, but the industry itself, as Venture Capital funds are investing heavily in Ports, Shipping and Logistics Digital startups – shipping and logistics startups focused on digital technology have risen $3.3 billion from January 2012 to September 2017.”
Portugal’s strategic guidelines will play into this investment boom, with a focus on strengthening traditional ocean economic activities (fishing, aquaculture and maritime transport), empowering emerging economic activities (like deep sea mining, biotechnology and ocean energy) and maximising Atlantic geostrategic centrality of the Portuguese Maritime space, in particular its deep and ultra-deep environments.
“It’s a huge opportunity for business – Ocean amounts for 97% of Portugal’s territory but only 3,1% of the gross value added”, concludes António.
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