Mobile World Capital, international arena for digital projects conceived in Barcelona

  • The 5GBarcelona initiative is key to the city’s establishment as a R&D&i hub in southern Europe
  • 4YFN launches its fifth edition with the presence of more than 600 startups from 145 countries and more than 500 investors
  • Mobile Lunch Barcelona will be held on Sunday 25 February with more than 600 professionals taking part
  • Mobile Week Barcelona multiplies its activity in every district of the city and presents new family-friendly mWeek KIDS event

Barcelona, 14 February 2018.– Barcelona is once again at the epicentre of technological innovation thanks to the Barcelona Mobile World Capital Foundation (MWCapital). The programme of events includes activities both at the Mobile World Congress and 4YFN and will involve the general public in initiatives around the city for the second year running. The aim is to show the impact on society of the digital transformation of sectors ranging from industry to entrepreneurship, education and technology.

Carlos Grau, CEO of MWCapital, has presented the Foundation’s programme of activities at an event presided over by Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona and President of the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation, who commented that, “Mobile World Congress strengthens the importance of the city’s research, innovation and science centers’ ecosystem. Mobile World Capital works to make this innovative city reach all citizens with initiatives such as Mobile Week, which grows in activities to exceed the areas of the congress and allows advances in fields such as education, science and technology”. Carlos Grau added that, “Together, we have established the city of Barcelona as a leading digital hub. Now we need to consolidate the impact of this transformation on the local area and create more proposals from our city that will have an impact globally.”

The presentation also saw the participation of José María Lassalle, Secretary of State for the Information Society and the Digital Agenda and Vice-president of the MWCapital Board of Trustees, who explained that, “From the Spanish Government we want, not only to consolidate Barcelona as the Mobile World Capital, but also to deepen into its story and internationalization in the new digital ecosystem”. Pau Villoria, General Secretary of Business and Knowledge at the Regional Government of Catalonia and Vice-president of the MWCapital Board of Trustees pointed out that, “Catalan companies and SMEs in the ICT field have grown and evolved in parallel with the Mobile World Congress. This event has become an important source of innovation and internationalisation, while at the same time one of the main drivers of digital transformation in Catalan industry.Constantí Serrallonga, CEO of Fira de Barcelona and Vicepresident of the MWCapital Executive Committee, also took part in the event and pointed out that, “The GSMA Mobile World Congress is a great challenge in which Fira is greatly involved on a logistical and organisational level.” He added that, “It highlights Barcelona’s hosting capacity and infrastructures, the dynamism of its business network and the desire to play an important role in the technological field”.

Barcelona as a European 5G hub

On 9 January 2018, the Regional Government of Catalonia, Barcelona City Hall, the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation, the i2CAT Foundation, the CTTC (Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya), Atos and the UPC (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya) presented the 5GBarcelona initiative, which aims to convert the city into a European 5G Open Lab.

During the GSMA Mobile World Congress, the first projects linked to 5GBarcelona will be revealed along with the first sectorial applications that will be carried out over the course of 2018.

4YFN: the fifth anniversary of the meeting point for startups

4 Years From Now (4YFN), the business platform that connects startups, investors, public institutions and large corporations, is returning for its fifth edition and lends a voice to “local heroes” – entrepreneurs in the 4YFN ecosystem who have established their projects in Barcelona. Carlota Pi, cofounder of Holaluz, Javier Figarola, CEO of ABA English and Javier Suárez, cofounder of TravelPerk, are some of the cases that will be presented on the Nestlé Stage at 4YFN.

4YFN Barcelona 2018 will welcome 600 startups from more than 145 countries to the Fira de Barcelona in Montjuïc in addition to 12 international delegations from Belgium, Colombia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. It also expects to attract over 19,000 visitors in an event that will see more than 600 investors take part.

In this edition, the 4YFN Awards will honour the most innovative national and international talent. 10 startups from 4 countries (Israel, Holland, the United Kingdom and Spain) will compete for a place in the final on Wednesday 28 February. To encourage relationships between startups, investors and large corporations, the entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to present their projects to an audience in the Startup Pitches. They will also be able to take part in guidance sessions with mentors from several different fields who will give them advice on raising funds, business strategy, marketing and international growth, among other subjects.

For its part, The Collider, the MWCapital venture builder that connects scientific knowledge with entrepreneurial talent, will host two networking sessions at 4YFN that will gather researchers, entrepreneurs and large corporations to demonstrate the possibilities of tech transfer.

4YFN Barcelona 2018 will also include featured programmes such as GSMA Women4tech, which proposes solutions to tackle gender equality in the worldwide tech community; Digital Health & Wellness Summit, which gives visibility to innovation in the healthcare field; Impact Accelerator, which is powering the next European Superstar Startups; and Ship2B Social Innovation Challenge, the leading accelerator for social sector solutions in Barcelona.

Barcelona: the setting for the future of technology

MWCapital and GSMA are organising the third edition of Mobile Lunch Barcelona, a meeting aimed at the business community to extend digitalisation to every sector of industry. On Sunday 25, the event will gather more than 500 entrepreneurs and representatives of institutions, research centres, universities, large corporations and SMEs, and will see the participation of Fabian Simmer, Digital Officer at SEAT; Àlex Sicart, founder of; Tim Juergens, Head of Health Solutions and Services&Emminens at Roche Diabetes Care; and Silvana Churruca, CEO of Payment Innovation Hub. Together with Carlos Grau, CEO of MWCapital, these speakers will reveal the potential of digitalisation in their sectors and explain the vital role that Barcelona plays in the field of innovation.

MWCapital is also launching Mobile Week Barcelona – an initiative that fuses art, science and technology – for the second year running, with the aim of maximizing the impact of digitalisation on the entire city. Between 15 – 24 February, mWeekBCN has organised a broad-ranging programme of more than 120 free activities in almost 90 spaces throughout the city.

mWeekBCN 2018 has grown with respect to last year’s edition and will involve more than 100 speakers, 20 artists and 180 contributors while hoping to see an audience of more than 16,000 people.

Once again, the Mobile World Centre will house “A window on the Mobile World Congress”, which will display the latest innovations by Huawei, Samsung and bq, in addition to the demos by Luca, Telefónica’s big data service that has applications in the sports and eSports sectors.

Finally, with the aim of boosting Barcelona’s digital ecosystem and demonstrating the impact the congress has had on Barcelona, the various MWCapital exhibition areas at GMSA Mobile World Congress and 4YFN will display a snapshot of different sectors, entrepreneurial and innovation success stories and an introduction to the digital future of the city that we will see in coming years.

The challenge of digital transformation

MWCapital will also present the evolution of its digital transformation programmes d-LAB and Going Digital. d-LAB, a digital programme that aims to resolve social issues using mobile and digital technology, will present the results of its pilot project carried out at the Las Arenas shopping centre at the end of 2017 with Wayfindr, the ONCE Foundation, Ilunion, ONCE Catalonia and the Arenas de Barcelona shopping centre. This solution outlined the use of a mobile audio guide to give visually-impaired visitors full autonomy in public indoor areas. On Tuesday 20, d-LAB will also announce the winners of its third challenge, which aims to combat cyberbullying using technology, during the session on education that will take place as part of Mobile Week Barcelona.

On March 1, d-LAB will also hold a seminar with the title of “Mobile & digital technologies accelerating the impact of digital social innovation”. The session will take place at GSMA Seminar Theatre 1, Level 1, CC1 at the GMSA Mobile World Congress (Fira Gran Via).

Meanwhile, Going Digital, an educational programme for sharing knowledge on digitalisation aimed at professionals, managers and business owners, will take 250 managers of companies unrelated to the field of ICT to the congress. The initiative, carried out in partnership with ACCIÓ, Agència Catalana de Turisme, EVERIS, Cambra de Comerç d’Andorra, ACES and Forcadell seeks to identify new opportunities that could be generated by mobile technology in businesses that are currently undergoing a digital transformation.

The importance of technology in education centres

mSchools is the digital empowerment programme sponsored by MWCapital in cooperation with the Regional Government of Catalonia, Barcelona City Hall and GSMA. It aims to strengthen students’ digital abilities, lower school dropout rates and improve academic performance and future employability by developing an entire curriculum linked to mobile technology and its social and economic applications.

mSchools will hold the Mobile Learning Awards (MLA) during the GSMA Mobile World Congress to honour the most innovative projects created by teachers and schools in Catalonia using mobile technology in education. It will also host the Changing Education Together seminar, which will once again gather directors of education centres, representatives from the education sector and policy makers to debate on the role of technology in teaching and share best practices.

mSchools will also be at the Youth Mobile Festival (YOMO), the event sponsored by GSMA in partnership with MWCapital and aimed at students between the ages of 10 and 16, where it will organise a virtual reality experience to bring children closer to technology and gather teachers in the Teacher Tracks, an activity that will show them innovative teaching methods they can apply in the classroom.

Mobile World Capital Barcelona

Mobile World Capital Barcelona is an initiative driving the mobile and digital transformation of society while helping improve people’s lives globally.

With support of the public and private sector throughout Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain, MWCapital focuses on three areas: the acceleration of innovation through digital-based entrepreneurship, the digital transformation of industries and the empowerment of new generations, professionals and citizens in the use of digital technologies. Collectively, our programmes are positively transforming Education, Industry and the Economy.

MWCapital hosts the Mobile World Congress and delivers 4 Years From Now [4YFN], a business platform for the startup community.


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