Design for Innovation – The World Congress of EU-BIC gathered over 500 people in Guimarães

For three days Guimarães was the capital of design and innovation. Portugal’s birthplace welcomed the 25th edition of the annual conference of the EU-BIC network – European Union Business and Innovation Centre – between September 28th and 30th.

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“Design and Innovation” was the theme of this international event, which was organized by BICMINHO in association with EBN and the municipal council of Guimarães. The organization has positively assessed the event, stating that “expectations were exceeded”.

Ricardo Costa, councilor of the Economic Development of the Municipal Council of Guimarães, stated at the opening session that “It is a privilege to know that Guimarães managed to show EBN and BICMinho that conditions were met for about 250 to 300 conference delegates from around the world to discuss a topic as relevant as entrepreneurship and innovation”.

Nuno Gomes, the Executive Director of BICMINHO and CEO of the Associação dos BIC Portugueses (Association of Portuguese BIC), emphasized that the holding of the congress in Guimarães was “the peak of 15 years of the activity of BICMinho’s itself, with good results. We wanted to investigate a new and unusual topic, that could indicate new ways for the future and we also wanted to show that, in addition to financing, follow-up work to projects are required. We feel that design and innovation by design are here to stay”, he said on the chosen topic for this edition of the event.

Nuno Gomes also highlighted that “the city has a strong industrial tradition, and, therefore, we wanted to honor Guimarães’ municipal business sector”.captura-de-ecra-2016-10-27-as-12-27-46-1

Despite the important contribution of technological innovation, innovation by design has increasingly been assumed as the main driving force behind economic growth: “We managed to achieve the ambitious goal of 500 people”, emphasized Nuno Gomes while talking about the event.

Regarding future projects, Nuno Gomes stated that it is intended “to create a cross-border cluster regarding bio-economy between the North of Portugal and Galicia. We are betting in the design and innovation sectors, so we want to implement ‘Design in the north’, a project that aims to lead design students and designers to develop new products, that are going to be a part of an exhibition held in Guimarães, which will become itinerant”, taking place in Oporto and Lisbon, also. The same responsible also stated that the exhibition “is already guaranteed at the design fairs in Barcelona and London”.

The EU-BIC has operated for over 30 years and is an example of how the activities funded by the European Union may have an impact on economic growth and increasing competitiveness. BICMINHO was launched in 2001 by entrepreneurs from the Minho area and provides guidance, support and specialized technical assistance, aiming to transform innovative ideas into sustainable business projects.



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