Article and TechRevolution

Vilanova I la Geltru Partner Profile

On the coast, south of Barcelona, Vilanova I la Geltru has a close relationship with the sea and a strong industrial heritage. There are 66.077 inhabitants (Census 2017 – (IDESCAT) and the unemployment rate is 13.9%

About The City

About the policy context

The good practice will be transferred within the following policy contexts:

Strengths and Weaknesses



Opportunities and Threats



A description of the Good Practice challenge

The city wants to transform its economy from one which historically was reliant on traditional sectors to one with a range of high quality digital and creative start-ups jobs for all citizens. It sees innovation and creativity as central to success. Since 2008 it has run the Neàpolis building, which houses local TV and radio, film sets, an auditorium, a research centre, a ‘hotel’ for companies, an incubator and a co-working space.

In this period it has hosted 15 SMEs in the ‘hotel’, 9 Micro SME’s in the incubator and 119 entrepreneurs in the co-working space. The building is now at full capacity and the city needs to consider both follow-on space and a wider community entrepreneurship offer.

Vilanova I la Geltru & TechRevolution

Vilanova I la Geltru want to use TechRevolution to….

The URBACT Local Group (ULG)

The ULG will spin out of an Innovation Consortium and will:

ULG membership will include: city council (Innovation, Urbanism and Digital Infrastructure teams), Neapolis (the city’s Innovation agency), Municipal Institute of Education and Jobs, Government of the Region of Barcelona. (International Relations and Urbanism Teams), College of Industrial technical engineers of Vilanova i la Geltrú, UPC-EPSEVG (Headquarters of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in the City), Datalong Health Care Internet of People (start-up) and other start-ups.

Assets for, and barriers to, transfer

Neapolis is the city’s public agency for innovation. The sea, technology and creativity are seen to be important economic drivers. Vilanova has significant experience delivering a large incubator and co working space facility spread over 4 floors and 8000m2. It houses organisations and actors from education, enterprise, citizens and government. One key achievement is surviving the economic crisis, despite local pressures to use the building differently during this period. It has developed and delivered several successful projects such as a master in interactive cinema, an international app development company and around 10 new ICT/Creative SMEs.

The city appears to be well connected with the regional government of Barcelona and with many different local and regional activities and networks linked to entrepreneurship and business support including an audiovisual industries cluster and a strong maker movement targeting young people.

However the city is not always able to adopt the risk-taking mindset so vital to innovation. It needs new knowledge, skills, resources and capacities to support innovation and change. In addition:

Practical steps to transfer

Vilanova is interested in using the following techniques to transfer the good practice:

The team of six at Neapolis will lead this process and there is clear support from stakeholder organisations. Due to the local political situation it is difficult to assess the level of political support at this point.

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