When are accelerators driven by SMEs?

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BY : Diego GutiérrezFebruary Fri, 2013

If you are developing a new business idea, this is good news for you. In Spain, as in other countries, accelerators of technological or innovative start-ups are being born. The origin of these accelerators is very varied, but we are missing SMEs. In order to have critical mass and potential, it would be necessary for SMEs to join together through sectoral associations, employers' associations or similar. 

Let's look at some samples.

Leading entrepreneurs contribute their knowledge and contacts to promote new initiatives.

An example of this is www.lanzadera.esThe company, set up by Juan Roig (president of Mercadona) this week. He has launched the Lanzadera project, with a private contribution of three million euros through his company Alquería Capital. It will finance a maximum of 15 entrepreneurs each year with the aim of "helping to develop and promote entrepreneurial leadership projects".

According to a press release from those responsible for this initiative, those selected will have up to 200,000 euros to develop their project. Those interested can submit their projects until 31 March.


Corporate groups support start-ups with their technological know-how and network of contacts. They expect these companies to present growth opportunities to their traditional businesses that are currently stagnating or declining.

The most famous example is Wayraaccelerator group Telefónicaled by Gonzalo Martín-Villa. It has demonstrated a capacity for implementation at a dizzying pace: 13 academies in the first year of life, with 181 start-ups in its 20 calls and €5-10 million invested.

Universities with knowledge centres also want to be present in this activity. For them it is a way to attract students with entrepreneurial profiles and increase their professional opportunities while improving their corporate reputation.

UNIR is the most relevant case. An online and distance learning university, it has positioned itself in the world of technology and entrepreneurship with its programme UNIR Emprende directed by Aurelio Lopez-barajas. It offers contributions between €25,000 and €400,000 with its €2MM fund, plus training and technological support.

SMEs could achieve future growth by supporting new initiatives related to their sector. The collaboration of SMEs with their agility and practicality could even yield better results than initiatives accelerated by large companies or corporations.

Diego Gutiérrez Zarza



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