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Life sciences is a growing sector in Catalonia, with important challenges like creating innovative companies with a vision for the future that bring research developed in universities and research centers to the market. The third edition of BioEmprenedorXXI was presented yesterday at the Barcelona Activa headquarters. This program to create companies in this sector –including biotechnology, biomedicine, environment and agrifood- helped 60% of the 15 projects selected last year from entrepreneurs, researchers and recent university graduates establish companies.

BioEmprenedorXXI is a joint public-private initiative from “la Caixa”, the Barcelona City Council –through Barcelona Activa-, Biocat, Genoma España and the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce. Representatives from the sponsors -Jordi William Carnes, deputy mayor in charge of Finance and Economic Promotion for the Barcelona City Council and president of Barcelona Activa; Manel Balcells, president of the Biocat Executive Committee; Rafael Camacho, general director of Genoma España; Xavier Ricart, vice-director of Economic Promotion for the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce; and Pere Guardiola, director of Institutions for “la Caixa” in Catalonia-, pointed out that this is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs that have a business idea because the program provides the tools and resources to allow them to both create and consolidate a business.

The program lasts eight months and is divided into training activities, guidance and feasibility analysis, mentoring, competence training, best practices and experience, a prize for the best entrepreneurial initiative and, at the end, actions to support the start up of the new companies (access to funding and internationalization).

This year’s training sessions will be given in English in order to attract entrepreneuring talent from around the world who are interested in starting up a business project in Barcelona.

20,000-euro award for best entrepreneurial initiative

Among the business plans presented, two runners-up and one winner will be selected. The winner will receive 20,000 euros in cash and the chance to participate in an accelerated course at the University of Cambridge and another Biocat Biocàpsules training program. Furthermore, in order to foster internationalization, the winner will attend one of the top fairs or international investment events. The prize also includes a free six-month stay in the Barcelona Activa business incubator. The first runner-up will receive a 10,000-euro award and the second runner-up, a 5,000-euro award.

This year’s prize will again be awarded during the Forum of the BioRegion, to be held on 2 December, which is the annual meeting of all professionals in the biotechnology, biomedicine and medical technology sector in Catalonia.

In 2009, the winning company was Sagetis, a spin-off of the Bioengineering Department at the Sarrià Chemical Institute, and in 2008, Intelligent Pharma, a company that is currently very active and will once again participate in the top international biotech congress, BIO Chicago, with a delegation of Catalan companies and institutions coordinated by Biocat.

Registration is now open and the deadline is 12 April 2010.

Questions: or by phone on +34 93 401 96 29.

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