A technology and innovation forum hosted by the British Chamber of Commerce at Malaga TechPark on Thursday this week showcased the role of technology in optimising the business relationship between Spain and the United Kingdom.
The focus of the meeting was on the ways that the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology can create industrial connectivity, developing a 'tech bridge' between the two nations.
The event was attended by British Consul in Andalucía, Charmaine Arbouin, and representatives of the UK Department for International Trade, local authorities and businesses.
Derek Langley, Regional Vice President of the Chamber, commented on the strong historical business relationship between Spain and the United Kingdom, and expressed his optimism for working together in the future.
Felipe Romera, CEO of Malaga TechPark, explained that the park outside Malaga, which was founded in 2016 and is now home to around 630 companies with 23,000 working professionals, is "increasingly becoming an international business environment", underlining the importance of international collaboration in business and trade.
In the spirit of using new technology, Francisco de la Torre, Malaga's mayor, made a virtual appearance, in which he praised the work of the British Chamber of Commerce and Malaga TechPark. He described Malaga as an ambitious city, commenting on the trailblazing technological advances being made in the capital of the Costa del Sol, notably the way in which AI is being used in medical technology. The mayor explained that AI is a crucial factor in local business innovation.
AI is not only making leaps and bounds in Malaga, but also in the United Kingdom. Dr Mike Short, Chief Scientific Adviser for the UK Department for International Trade, outlined the richness and diversity of Britain's artificial intelligence landscape, with over 1,300 AI start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises. According to a study by consultants Accenture, AI will add 654 billion pounds to the UK economy by 2035.
With significant venture capital funding, as well as government support, he explained that for AI start-ups in the UK, "the market may be there, the technology may be there, but the funding is also there".
In the spirit of collaboration and relationship building, a mix of Malaga and UK-based firms took part in a roundtable debate, sharing their views on AI and industrial connectivity between Britain and Spain.
The panel was made up of Toni de la Prieta, of Innova IRV and Accenture España, and Juan Carlos Mora of Dekra SE. They were joined by Sherin Mathew, Paul Moorby and Fenella Boyle of Al Tech North, Chipside MiPermit and Versed AI respectively.
"It's all about collaboration," agreed Langley and Ezequiel Navarro, President of Innova IRV and also head of the TechPark business leader's association. They both said they were expecting a bright future for the developing tech bridge between the UK and Spain.
Also participating in the event were Jordi Laguarda, Director of International Trade and Investment for Spain at the UK Department for International Trade; Lourdes Cruz, Director of Business Development & Investment Promotion at Málaga TechPark; and Sarah Roles-Ndibe, Head of Technology at the UK Department of International Trade.