Vilanova i la Geltrú has been working since 2015 for its international projection. In a first phase it was through the support of ACCIÓ and the Diputació de Barcelona later. As a result of the work carried out, in 2017 participation in international projects began as well as the promotion of a series of strategic reflections aimed at positioning itself as a Mediterranean intermediate city.
This work has been revitalized through Neàpolis and is consolidated in 2017 with the delivery of the Internationalization Plan of Vilanova i la Geltrú 2018-2022, drafted with the support of the Office of Europe and International Strategy (OEEI ) of the Diputació de Barcelona
Vilanova i la Geltrú Internationalization Plan 2018-2022
The Internationalization Plan 2018-2022 aims to lead the internationalization processes that concern the whole city, and especially the local economic sectors, contributing to the sustainable development of the entrepreneurial fabric taking into account the economic, social and environmental.
The plan lays the groundwork for boosting local international projection by leveraging its strengths. It also aims to make visible and improve the city’s attractiveness by taking advantage of its position as a cohesive city with a high level of quality of life. In this sense, the plan also aims to strengthen governance structures and management instruments to become a benchmark and accompany economic actors on the path of internationalization by effectively facilitating this process.
The plan was drafted by the team led by Agustí Fernández de Losada, Director of Studies and International Technical Assistance of Tornos Abogados. Its preparation and drafting has been funded and supported by the Barcelona Provincial Council through the Directorate of International Relations and the Office of Europe and International Strategy. In the process of preparing the previous diagnoses and drafting the same internationalization plan, the work team had the collaboration of all the agents involved in the quadruple propeller: university and research, representatives of the company and business associations, associative, civic and social movements and technicians of the Administration. Their contributions were crucial in consolidating the foundations of the plan and guaranteeing its transversality in actions. Neàpolis, and its activity around the sector of creativity, innovation and technologies was one of the main agents in the detection and promotion of local talent and in its projection.
In this sense, the plan raises the strategic need to attract international projects, investments and opportunities and to support talent by incorporating reception mechanisms for companies and entrepreneurs, but also organizations and actors that contribute to them. In this context, it is proposed to involve the city in the organization of international fairs and conferences in the line of events and strengthening the network of advisers and experts in this field. Taking advantage of successful experiences that include the component of knowledge, creativity and innovation such as the Laboratory of Bioacoustic Applications or the VIDA Festival to capitalize on the impacts of the external projection they make of the city is another goal. At this point it is also proposed to promote similar actions in other areas of proven added value such as care for dependents and the elderly, the sector of cultural and creative industries, nautical and aeronautics, etc. betting on a mixed collaboration involving the university and companies.
One of these specific areas of action is the Cultural linked to the singularization of the sea as a landscape, natural heritage and depository of the local maritime tradition. A capital that must be linked to other tools such as the Tourist Marketing Plan and the singularity it proposes in relation to elements such as beaches, gastronomy, or making the port a hub in matters of transport and maintenance of boats. etc.
The plan also advocates, from a social perspective, its link to the Master Plan for International Development Cooperation. The document conceives cooperation as another instrument of promotion and relationship with the world. A vision that, in addition, confers a positive load of values as a promoter of solidarity actions and with a relevant scope and social impact. The plan aims to have a transversal impact on the promotion of training by promoting specific activities as well as relations with universities or by promoting the University Campus of the Mediterranean.
Among some of the derived actions, the document proposes to review the management and dynamization of a proposal of a network of ambassadors of the city questioning its functions and current dynamics of work. Actions are also proposed in relation to the twinning with Merignac and Matanzas, proposing the establishment of relations with other medium-sized cities in Europe, the United States, Asia and Latin America. In this sense, the plan recommends establishing links with current networks of cities by noting their emergence in the world.
A period of consolidation of international projection
A main line deployed by Neàpolis is the search for EU-funded projects. Between 2018 and 2020, support has been received from the OEEI to configure and consolidate the internationalization strategy and to prepare and apply for projects individually. So far, a total of 4 EU projects have been achieved. From this experience, it has been concluded that its benefits for the city are not only economic, but also provide exchange of experiences, new development models and serve to gain identity and credibility as a city through narratives. consolidated.
On the one hand, he has participated in the Tech Revolution, a project that has allowed to learn how the city of Barnsley manages its Digital Media Center (Innovation Agency similar to Neàpolis) and exchange knowledge between the 7 cities that make up the project: Barnsley (UK), Schiedam (Netherlands) , Bacau (Romania), Piraeus (Greece), Nyíregyháza (Hungary) and Pardubice (Czech Republic). As one of the results of the Tech Revolution, the Local Innovation Forum (FIL) has been created, a community made up of people interested in fostering innovation to solve city challenges. The OEEI has supported Neàpolis for the configuration and consolidation of the Local Innovation Forum.
Finally, MedGAIMS , a European project funded under the ENI CBCMED Program, for cross-border cooperation between countries in the Euro-Mediterranean region, has also been launched. The central point of MedGAIMS is that it uses gamification, that is, the game design application, to create memorable experiences for tourists. Offering these experiences can give a lesser advantage to lesser known destinations as it will increase their appeal. But gamification is culturally sensitive, we don’t all have the same sense of what is fun, so a multicultural and cross-border evaluation of initiatives is needed before opening them up to international tourists.
The need to update the city’s Internationalization Plan
After these years of boosting the experience of international projects, comes the need to update the need to consolidate the internationalization strategy through the updating of the city’s Internationalization Plan. Therefore, efforts will be coordinated to coordinate participation in the drafting of both the International Projection Plan and the Strategic Plan for Local Innovation (PEIL), thus revitalizing and consolidating the Local Innovation Forum.
As a result of the Plan, it is expected to have a list of project sheets for the city. It will be based on the tasks carried out within the framework of the Strategic Plan for Local Innovation in terms of defining challenges and assets for drawing up specific project sheets that comply with the EU guidelines. In this way, efficiency will be gained when submitting own projects to EU calls.