• In her first visit to Brussels, the councilor has been able to find out more about the work of Finnova Foundation through its CEO, Juanma Revuelta.
• Paula Llobet met with the team of Finnova Foundation in Brussels, which includes several young trainees, five of whom are from Valencia.
• The visit focused on innovation, the councilor’s area of expertise, and best practices for implementing an urban development strategy.
June 28, 2023, Brussels. Paula Llobet Vilarrasa, Councilor for Economy and Major Projects at the City Council of Valencia (Spain), visited the offices of the Finnova Foundation in Brussels on her first trip to the European capital after her appointment. The meeting with the team of Finnova Foundation in Brussels, led by its CEO, Juanma Revuelta; European project managers; and several young trainees, five of whom are from Valencia, allowed for the exchange of best practices and the exploration of potential collaborations for European projects.
With over twenty years of experience in designing and managing public policies, securing EU funding, and coordinating local and transnational networks, Paula Llobet engaged in discussions on various topics of interest during her visit. One prominent subject was Valencia’s aim to attain the «Neutral City Seal,» which aligns with the European Commission’s announcement on April 28. The announcement revealed that one hundred cities, including Valencia, were chosen to participate in the EU mission called «One Hundred Smart and Climate-Neutral Cities by 2030.» Through the implementation of a «climate contract» encompassing diverse urban development strategies and innovative initiatives, the city of Valencia is making significant strides towards becoming a smarter, more innovative, and environmentally friendly urban center in its journey towards climate neutrality.
The councilor took advantage of the visit to explain Valencia’s proposed city model. She also emphasized the importance of promoting public-private partnerships to attract innovation opportunities and to request and utilize European funds for urban services and infrastructure because «projects and their execution build credibility. It is very important to generate trust and to have a team’s ability to be in sync and have a clear vision of the desired city model,» she highlighted. Furthermore, after learning about the Finnova Foundation’s youth training activities, the councilor encouraged them to continue their education and learn from the enriching experience of working in Brussels, getting to know the EU, and acquiring language skills.
Valencia, Spain, European Green Capital 2024
Another topic discussed during the meeting was Valencia’s proclamation as the European Green Capital in 2024, an internationally prestigious award in the field of sustainability, health, and urban quality of life. The CEO of Finnova offered the Foundation’s collaboration to promote the city of Valencia as a municipal laboratory of best practices in circular economy, nature, climate change, and renewable energies. «Valencia was the leading city in Europe in projects funded by the European Commission’s LIFE Program from 1999 to 2011,» Revuelta recalled. In this regard, he suggested working together on a potential LIFE Ecodigestion 3.0 project to provide solutions for organic waste from the HORECA sector and cruise ships arriving in Valencia, and to obtain green hydrogen from these waste materials. «This represents a highly interesting alternative for a city like Valencia since organic waste, which currently goes to landfills, would be taken to treatment plants where digesters generate biogas, thus contributing to energy efficiency,» Revuelta pointed out.
About Finnova Foundation
Finnova is a non-profit Spanish-Belgian foundation with headquarters in Brussels and Spain, being Valencia its main location in Spain. The foundation works for the promotion and development of innovation and entrepreneurship in the EU. One of the Foundation’s priorities is the training and employability of professionals in European funds, with more than 500 young people having benefited from it. Finnova’s experience in leading communication and dissemination activities for European projects is combined with a proven track record in business creation programs and entrepreneurship support, such as accelerators, incubators, and events.