The Basque region is the proposed setting for the world’s first ‘social Silicon Valley’. Alison Benjamin meets two Spaniards intent on creating a post-industrial revolution
High in the hills of Spain’s Basque region, an experiment is taking place that could determine how we tackle social problems in the future. At a time when governments, economists and businesspeople are desperately looking for new solutions to deliver us from a recession and meet pressing social needs, Carlos Fernández Isoird and Inigo Urkidi think they have the answer.
Their new social firm, Business Innovation Brokers (BIB), is creating what they claim will be the world’s first industrial park for social enterprises and co-operatives. It hopes to attract to the campus-style park new start-up social businesses, alongside non-governmental organisations, foundations and institutions from around the world that promote and support social enterprise. A school of social innovation will provide a research and development function for the park’s occupants.
“Think of a social Silicon Valley,” Fernández Isoird says. “We want to attract and nurture new talent that will develop models, methods and tools for social innovation.”
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