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AGM of Universia Spain

Ana Botín: 'Universities and entrepreneurs, you will be the protagonists in the construction of a better future'

  • Ana Botín: we need "an even more powerful and sustainable educational system that allows for diversity and offers quality training that anyone can access".
  • Innovation and technology development, a strategic pillar at Banco Santander. The Bank will invest 1.9 billion euros in technology this year.

Madrid, 9 May 2017. The University of Vigo hosted today the AGM of Universia Spain, which served as background for the celebration of an important event between the university environment and entrepreneurs, hosted by Santander and attended by the senior representatives of all Spanish universities, around 100 business people and 230 entrepreneurs and university students.

This meeting revolved around four major issues relating to entrepreneurship: fear of failure; need to adapt to changes; creativity in the journey from idea to product; and funding. The event allowed new and consolidated entrepreneurs to exchange ideas, such as Anxo Pérez (8 Belts), Verónica Pascual (Asti), Álvaro Mancilla (Workkola) and Pilar Manchón (Amazon, founder of Indisys). The list of speakers included the rector of Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Carlos Andradas, and the Group Executive Chairman of Banco Santander and Chair of Universia, Ana Botín.

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Ana Botín stated that "one of the best ways that Banco Santander can help individuals and companies to prosper is by dedicating time, resources and effort to universities". As an example of this type of collaboration, Ana Botín mentioned Appcrue, which aims to be a future benchmark in the world of universities; the Santander Yuzz programme, which supports entrepreneurship; and the collaborative innovation project Hércules, which manages research.

"At a time when we are living a new peak in innovation and entrepreneurship", Ana Botín stressed how important university campuses are to "building bridges between new entrepreneurs and established companies". And she added: "We have learned that our support to universities has to follow you along this entire process, which is increasingly more geared towards entrepreneurs" since "the potential to help create new companies is still significant and it is the responsibility of us all – companies, public sector and universities – to make this a reality."

Botín encouraged the attending rectors to "create an even more powerful and sustainable educational system that allows for diversity and offers quality training that anyone can access". In this new scenario, universities share challenges with productive sectors: "innovative finance models; growing need to attract the best students that have the talent companies need to be able to compete; and digital learning environments with customised and adaptive processes".

Additionally, she encouraged development of “ew types of leadership that generate shared spaces from growing diversity, common projects in flexible environments, by integrating the new values of creativity, imagination and transformative thinking with the culture of hard work, of a job well done, of facing hard and uncertain times with an open mind".

Entrepreneurship and learning from experience
The Group Executive Chairman stated clearly that "universities and entrepreneurs, you will be the protagonists of this ecosystem that will open doors for the talent which will help to build a better future".

According to Ana Botín, entrepreneurs learn by doing; they get it right by getting it wrong; and they "integrate knowledge, innovation, new cultures and ways of doing things, a transformational vision". She also announced that Santander is working on a platform that will integrate all of its initiatives to support university entrepreneurship so as to facilitate a talent network at the service of entrepreneurs that, just like the Bank, handle difficulties and challenges with passion, innovation and courage. She reminded the audience that Santander regards innovation and technology development as a strategic pillar and reiterated that it will invest 1.9 billion euros in technology in 2017.

Rectors from all over the world will celebrate the 800th anniversary of the University of Salamanca
The meeting with entrepreneurs was at the end of a day that started with the AGM of Universia, chaired by Ana Botín as the Chair of Universia who was accompanied by the Chair of Crue, Universidades Españolas and rector of the University of Extremadura, Segundo Píriz, the rector of the University of Vigo, Salustiano Mato, and the global head of Santander Universities and Universia, Javier Roglá.

Universia recapped the initiatives completed in 2016 and drafted future lines of work and activities, including the Universia International Rectors' Meeting to be held in Salamanca next year, which will coincide with the university's 800th anniversary. Salamanca was "the first [university] to have a public library and was an example of leadership and innovation at the time", recalled Ana Botín.

With a consolidated status as an international model for university relations, Universia (www.universia.net) includes 1407 academic institutions from Ibero America, representing 19.9 million university students. All of its activities benefit from the patronage of Banco Santander, the world's most important investor in educational support (Varkey/UNESCO-Fortune 500 report), which has 1200 partnership agreements with universities and institutions from 21 countries. For more information: www.santander.com/universidades.


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