Recently the important newspaper Expansión has echoed the successes of the Murcia Region in terms of attracting investment and developing the innovation ecosystem. We reproduce the entire article below, which you can read in its original source here.
Murcia region: where companies invest and innovation thrives
The technological transformation of its business and a strategy for attracting investments driven by pioneering services and great features in the region (availability of talent, logistics and incentives) make the Murcia region the destination of choice for companies before and after the Covid -19.
In the post-Covid era, Murcia continues to make innovation and attracting investment its main bets. A solid structure of aid -co-financed by the ERDF programs-, an Innovation department with specific dedication and another for Investment attraction –Invest in Murcia-, which facilitates the management of productive business investments, tutoring and speeding up procedures -thanks to the Investment Acceleration Unit (UNAI) – constitute the differential values of the region.
Business recovery, adaptation and transformation of its production system are advancing with the plan outlined by the Strategy for Smart Specialization, RIS3Mur, which has the support and funding of the EU through the ERDF programs, and seeks to strengthen the technology transfer, connecting with external opportunities and fostering an innovative culture. The 2014-2019 period shows astonishing figures: 483 million euros executed, 40% more than initially budgeted.
With the digital age
The post-Covid economy has accelerated the use of information and communication technologies, which have become an absolute priority for the European Union, which considers them one of the pillars of European funds. For this reason, the Murcia Regional Development Agency (INFO), in collaboration with the ICT Technology Center, has developed a Cybersecurity, Telework, Electronic Commerce and Big Data Webinar Cycle. The initiative explains key aspects of Internet security, how to design a telework strategy and the ICT tools that support it, and the field of electronic commerce.
More than 300 companies in the Murcia region are currently involved in post-Covid innovation awareness actions. In addition, in 2020, a total of 26.5 million euros of R&D investment have been induced in companies, 13.9 million from INFO funds that have been directed to 255 companies, and 3.7 million for the Technology Centers R&D activities.
The Business 4.0 Program, developed within the framework of the Murcia Industry 4.0 Strategy, which helps to implement digital transformation projects that involve an effective introduction of digital technologies in the company, has a budget of 2.5 million euros and has received a total of 188 proposals. More than 350 companies have participated in its webinars, who have attended a Smart Tourism Conference and a cycle that has brought together aspects such as smart warehouses and internal logistics, the lean management model and its digitization, and the analysis and visualization of data.
On the other hand, INFO has worked through its Invest in Murcia brand on more than 1,000 investment projects that add up to a portfolio of 31,000 million euros and 61,000 jobs. The investment promotion agency has one of the highest conversion rates in Spain, which, in the last five years, has risen from 23.5% to 35.3%, providing a job for more than 13,000 people.
The strategy for attracting investments in the Region of Murcia is based on the one hand, on the portfolio of services available to companies. Such as the Investment Acceleration Unit (UNAI), a pioneer, created by a regional law, and which cuts by 50% the times of administrative procedures in investment projects, which are centralized in a single entity. Another novelty is the InvesTools toolkit, which makes INFO the most technologically advanced agency in Spain.
The region is an attractive location for companies in the agri-food sector, tourism, logistics, plastics or technological services and back office. The availability of talent is one reasons, due to seven of the 81 universities in Spain are within a 150 km radius. This, together with the 94 professional schools that exist, makes 120,500 highly qualified professionals available to companies each year. Technology companies such as Everis (part of the NTT Data Group), which started with just 70 people, now has a +1,500 people center, and also Capgemini or Amazon have come to Murcia attracted by this advantage. The latter already has a warehouse underway and is about to finish the works on the second: it is the fourth Amazon Robotics Fulfillment Center in Spain, after the ones in Barcelona and Seville, with 160,000 m2 of surface (1.7 million sq. feet), that will employ more than 1,000 people involving an investment of 200 million.
The operating costs are another advantage, since the region has one of the largest offers of industrial land, organized in 81 parks with an average price of around 70€ / m2 (6,5€ per square feet); a supply of perfectly equipped offices, and the second largest fleet of road transport in Spain. Not to mention the investment incentives. The ERDF programs allow Murcia to have the highest possible level of aid intensity, which can reach up to 45% of non-refundable funds, whether it be aid for employment, R&D activities, or INFO’s own lines of financing. Each year INFO grants aid to more than 600 companies.