By The Economist.
Welcome to Silicon Valley. This holiday house in Córdoba could be a favourite destination for families or friends looking for a place to spend their holidays. However, it is the perfect place for a group of young people to develop and improve their ideas, which will highlight the future.
Silicor Valley, as the locals know this place, was named by adapting the name Silicon Valley, the most famous entrepreneurship space in the world. The house in the Andalusian city was set-up thanks to the Explorer Program of Banco de Santander. The company’s project, which is presided by Ana Botín, gives assistance to more than 7,000 young people to promote their projects. “The program helps you to gain momentum, we understand the philosophy and we are following it here,” according to one of the participants.
The house is located on the outskirts of Córdoba and it is not just a place for young entrepreneurs to live in. Additionally, all of the habitants make use of these premises as a co-working centre to develop their own projects, while also receiving feedback from their co-workers to help improve their projects, which establishes a meaningful sense of teamwork.
According to José: “There are other centres in Spain with a similar co-working environment, but none compare to the atmosphere we have here.”
The young people who are a part of Silicor Valley develop different projects: Francisco and José work on an innovative car breaking system; Juan has devised an online platform for retailers; Álvaro and his brother Carlos keep in touch online with an architect to work on design companies, and Sergio and Rafa run a startup tech project that carries out robotic workshops for children.
In addition to the work and talent of these entrepreneurs, we also must take into account the difficulties that most of the students face when they finish their academic studies. Juan affirms that: “Our generation faces many difficulties finding a job after university, so we opted for developing our own projects”.
The only condition that the tenants of Silicor Valley must comply with is to collaborate on a regular basis by sharing ideas and knowledge. In this regard, Sergio states that: “The great thing is that we are people with different backgrounds and knowledge.”
In addition, the Explorer Program of Banco Santander provides the businessmen in the program with trade mentors who assist them.
Sergio and Rafa, two members of the Silicor Valley group, focused their project on robotics. Their challenge was a successful attempt to bring robotics to children by carrying out workshops in several centres of the Córdoba province. Thus was Robotics born, an idea that became a profitable business thanks to the assistance of the Explorer Program of Banco de Santander.
Currently, the Robotics program has agreements with almost 50 schools and generates enough income to survive by itself. However, the two developers realize the importance of looking for new investors to continue improving and increasing the scope of their project.
Sergio and Rafa usually visit centres that use their program to interact with the students by using simple designs so that the children are engaged with the projects.
How are they financing?
One of the most important identity features of Silicor Valley is the cooperation of their investors, which is reflected both in the technical development of the projects and their fundraisers to make the expansion of their startups possible.
A meeting took place in Córdoba between our young entrepreneurs, businessmen and institutions. They didn’t want to look for a place outside of Silicor Valley but arranged their own living and working space to present their ideas. They are the people responsible for everything related to this event, including the creation of a cocktail hour offered before the closing ceremony. “Silicor is a team and we cannot continue without any of the members,” according to one of the participants.
The Explorer Program of the Banco de Santander offers the young entrepreneurs access to investors and the possibility of developing and growing their businesses.