From Bilbao to Seoul

From Bilbao to Seul

Four young entrepreneurs travel to the capital of South Korea, Seoul, to study the advances and new technologies in the country in depth

Last year, BilboTik, a company within the city council of Bilbao, trusted them to research about different strategic lines in Korea, with the intention for the team to write an easy-to-grasp executive report on the field of Smart Cities. After a result exceeding expectations, this 2022, Bilbao is counting on them again for a different type of work, but in line with the previous research.

The project has five members

In 2021, it was Amets Aguirrebengoa Arrieta and Leire Escalante Albarrán who led the project in Korea, but this 2022, Txaber Saiz Erostarbe, Arkaitz Santos Ribeiro and Ignacio Almendariz Martinez, have been incorporated into the team given the interest in the subject to investigate and the complementary profiles that the five have. The initiative this year will be supported by Amets from Spain, to speed up communication with clients given the time difference between the two countries.

"It was a pleasure to align ourselves with the objectives of the Bilbao City Council and to have a place in one of their projects. After all, we are from Bilbao, and the fact that they counted on us to gather information to study the future of the digitalization of the city was a great experience and a source of pride", says Leire Escalante, one of the members of the team.

"Furthermore, the fact that they want to count on us again and that we have the opportunity to be here again in Seoul and take advantage of all the knowledge and network of contacts generated last year is something that gives us special satisfaction, as it allows to continue building from a base and not starting from zero in a new country. It is something that we already know and that we want to continue getting to know," says Arkaitz Santos.

As the young man says, there are many companies with which they already initiated contact last year and with which they have resumed this year, in addition, they have the support of different native people of the country so that the relationship and conversations with the companies are much closer and fruitful.

"I have been here in Seoul for a total of about seven and a half months in 2021 and language is a major barrier if you do not master English, even so, there are people here in Korea that the only language they know how to speak is in Korean, so it is important to establish relationships with people who master both languages or even Spanish as well to be able to investigate and gather as much information as possible" indicates Ignacio Almendariz, the team member who has spent more time in Korea this past year.

The objective of this project is clear: to enhance the future digitalization of cities and help the development of society. To this end, although they already have the confidence of BilboTik, these young people continue to establish relationships with different city councils in Spain.

They want to promote digitalization and technological progress, aligning themselves with the objectives of different autonomous communities to make the most of the opportunity of their stay in Seoul.

"South Korea has welcomed us with completely open arms, making their experiences, plans, and contact with collaborating entities available to us. It's a huge inspiration for us the development potential we are experiencing in terms of digitalization, mobility, and knowledge management (among many others). An example of resilience and ambition that we want to transfer to the rest of the world," concludes Txaber.

Amets Aguirrebengoa, Leire Escalante,  Txaber Saiz, Arkaitz Santos e Ignacio Almendariz

In the photo, from left to right, writers of this report: Amets Aguirrebengoa, Arkaitz Santos, Ignacio Almendariz,Txaber Saiz and Leire Escalante.

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