Bilbao hosts the meeting on innovation, talent and entrepreneurship of the European economic development network Eurocities

2022 October 27

  • Around twenty European cities will participate in Bilbao in the N-Helix Dialogue on Urban Laboratories, Talent and Innovation.

  • Municipal representatives and experts from different countries will meet to share knowledge about innovation policies for economic development, such as urban laboratories, N-Helix citizen participation and the match between demand and supply of professional profiles.

  • In this way, Bilbao shows its commitment to the Eurocities network and multilateral relations between European cities and municipalities for the exchange of experiences, projects and effective urban policies.

Bilbao is the venue for the Dialogue on Urban Living Labs, Talent and Innovation N-Helix, the meeting of European cities that are part of the Eurocities network for economic development. The municipal representatives of approximately twenty cities are meeting in Bilbao from yesterday, October 26 and until tomorrow, October 28, including cities such as Braga, Espoo, Dortmund, Munich, Stavanger, Eindhoven, Hengelo, Enscheden and Barcelona, among others. The main objective of this meeting is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge, learning and experience among the European cities that are part of the Eurocities Economic Development Forum’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship working group.



More than two hundred cities from thirty-eight different countries are part of this network, which represents more than one hundred and thirty million citizens. In the case of Bilbao, the city has been part of Eurocities for more than twenty years. Eurocities cities work together to improve the quality of life of their residents. They exchange knowledge and know-how on issues that have a direct impact on the well-being of citizens, such as climate change, energy adaptation, sustainable mobility, urban aging, cooperation, migration and integration. The Eurocities network also helps local governments to implement policies enacted by the European Union, and works on EU funding opportunities.



Bilbao is proud to host the international meeting Dialogue on Urban Living Labs, Talent and Innovation N-Helix. It is part of its commitment to Eurocities and to the multilateral relations that this network facilitates for large European cities. It is also a great opportunity for the direct transfer of knowledge, ideas and experiences among all the agents involved. On the one hand, Bilbao will present to dozens of European cities the urban policies that have worked best for the city, showing its potential as a European benchmark and leading some of the workspaces. On the other hand, Bilbao will be able to learn from the processes and models that have proven to be successful in other European cities, and apply them in its own context.



The people who have been meeting in Bilbao since yesterday have a very full agenda ahead of them, with the presentation of various cooperation and innovation projects, as well as round tables and working sessions that will focus on specific topics.

One of the first sessions will address the models of Urban Living Labs, and the role of local public administration in promoting and developing them. This will be supported by experts from Orkestra, the Basque Institute of Competitiveness; ACLIMA, a cluster of environmental companies in the Basque Country; INNOLAB Bilbao, the city’s open innovation platform; ENoLL, the European Network of Living Labs, and Eurocities’ own specialists working in this field.

In this session, Bilbao presents Bilbao Zero 2, a project that, through cooperation between business clusters, universities, professionals and technology centers, seeks innovative solutions to the challenges facing our cities. These challenges are mostly related to the generation of renewable urban energy, efficient energy consumption, building rehabilitation, infrastructure maintenance or waste management, among others.

In a second session, the group will visit Zorrotzaurre to learn about the context of the Island and the AS Fabrik campus of Mondragon Unibertsitatea will be presented. The conversation will focus on talent and the need for qualification and requalification of labor market profiles. Urban practices that best address the mismatch between the needs of the private sector and qualification will also be shared, from a holistic approach.

Bilbao will present another project on this occasion, around Vocational Training and KIBS. This project seeks to attract and retain talent in the field of advanced services in order to contribute to the smart specialization of the city. This project is led by the Bilbao City Council and Orkestra, the Basque Institute of Competitiveness. It also has the participation of the Basque Government (through the Department of Education and the Department of Labor and Employment), Bizkaia Talent, Vocational Training Centers, cluster associations and leading companies in the city.

The next day will focus on innovation through the N-Helix, that is, the interactions between universities, industry, government, citizens and the environment in the context of a knowledge economy. The meeting will analyze good practices, challenges and lessons learned from those innovation processes that involve citizen participation, with the help of BBK Kuna, the house of the Sustainable Development Goals in Bilbao.

This space for social innovation works from the heart of Bilbao La Vieja to offer solutions to the challenges of the future, such as the aging population and the loneliness of the elderly, climate change, the technological revolution, the transformation of cities and migration. All of these challenges are aligned with the 2030 Agenda and must be addressed in order to continue to grow as a society without leaving anyone behind.