StartupOLE was well received in sunny Salamanca
It’s not often that Salamanca in Spain pops up in the startup world as an entrepreneurial hot spot, which was why I was excited to check out StartupOle running from Monday 5th September to Wednesday 7th.
The conference was well attended with a vast range of exhibitors, speakers and dealmakers from around the world. Monday for me was a high-octane day of action across the three active conference centres in Salamanca. My first morning walkaround was in Colegio Arzobispo Fonsesca. I stopped off at the Autolin stand and chatted with Sandra about her company’s wide range of car automation accessories being sold in over 140 countries.
Just across the way was Gonzalez from Slang Digital whose mission is to help small businesses automate tasks via the multi-vendor templates he can write for customers saving them time and money in their own daily business. The closeness to the customer and mix of business sizes was my first substantive impression of the conference.
I then went to Hospederia Fonsesca and was simply ‘wowed’ by the impressive architecture of the building. There were many speaking rooms and large auditoriums prepped for a very large audience and a range of topics, which went ahead over the coming days. My next walkaround was at Palacio de Congresso y Exposiciones, which is a large multi-story complex. It already had a vast array of exhibitors set up and trading when I arrived.
The people-centric focus of the conference became very notable with public access being free for starters. Also of note was a large level of involvement by the Spanish authorities including the local university, and the Spanish police.
That afternoon, I attended a public party, that was amply supplied with food and drink before the Spanish police outside Colegio Arzobispo Fonsesca gave an impressive k9 interdiction demonstration. Inside, I got chatting with Estefano from Dooroti who has a B2B car park access control system that he plans to develop for B2C in the near future.
Early evening, I went back to Palacio de Congresso y Exposiciones to do some general networking and prepare for my participation in an English-speaking panel called ‘Ways in Which Media Will Help Your Startup Succeed’. It was moderated by Andreas Dulanto. Esther Molina, Mario Paladini, Ana Avila along with I were on the panel who took part in a lively discussion on how media should be engaged by startups. Brand connection, consistency and story definition came through in our discussion with some great experiences shared by all.
The fun did not stop there as we went back to Colegio Arzobispo Fonsesca for another party. The band rocked the house to the early hours completing the first day of StartupOle.
Tuesday was off to an early start at Colegio Arzobispo Fonsesca with a VIP breakfast and round table on rural sustainability moderated by Vanessa Tierney of Abodoo. This VIP breakfast had Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth as its special guest and keynote speaker. All of the speeches, which includes Mariya’s talked of the trying times we live in and how the implementation of existing ideas is the current priority to solve the serious problems we currently face as a community.
Early afternoon saw me head back to Palacio de Congresso y Exposiciones, where I met with two very promising entrepreneurs. I chatted with Oriana Circelli, whose company ‘WoWplay’ creates blended learning packs for young children delivered monthly to their homes. It creates a holistic learning experience delivering better outcomes in education and understanding for the children involved. I then chatted with Jean-Pierre Lannou, whose company Gundo is dedicated to providing healthy eating guidance to its customers via Gundo’s app. The app itself provides nutritional information and suitability guidance against the customer’s profile whilst shopping. Anybody with a sensitive stomach or a chronic digestive ailment would benefit from Jean-Pierre’s digital product.
Afterwards, I went back to Colegio Arzobispo Fonsesca, where once again the Spanish Police were stealing the show just outside the building. They gave a demonstration of slow rope and k9 detection, which showcased their skillsets in law enforcement for all to see. My final trip of the day went back to Palacio de Congresso y Exposiciones.
This walkabout ended up in an interesting chat with Pablo Rengifo of Rural Talent. We chatted about rural sustainability and his private investment fund that is designed to support entrepreneurs and the rural sustainability initiative currently underway in Spain.
Wednesday saw the final day of StartupOle and my trip home to Ireland, where I had the chance to muse over all the interesting people I met since my arrival in lovely Salamanca. After covering StartupOle, I once again have hope that we currently have the talent, will and leadership to meet these challenges and hand them off to the next generation of Europeans, who will inherit the better tomorrow we seek today!
John Mulhall @johnmlhll | firstname.lastname@example.org is a writer with Irish Tech News for over 6 years and also Founder, DevOps and Cloud Infrastructure Engineer with Maolte Technical Solutions Limited. You can learn more about John and his new company at https://maolte.ie
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