QUICK INTERVIEW: Antonio Rodes, CEO of Distrito Digital
How did the Valencian government decide that the area must lead a pioneering project in the digital economy?
We needed to create a significant change in the Valencian economic model, a model previously based on tourism and real estate development, which suffered a downturn in revenue. We wanted a new model with greater added value. This led us to the digital economy.
It might surprise you that Alicante was chosen as the starting point for the project but this was because it suffered the most from the effects of the revenue crisis. But, in addition, it has competitive advantages: the unique climate, the sea, the gastronomy, two universities, and highly competitive communications infrastructures, including roads, shipping routes, railways and an airport that connects with more than 200 destinations.
Is Distrito Digital an example of effectiveness in terms of its implementation model?
The Distrito Digital is a digital ecosystem in formation, with great current success stories in the environment of AI, nanotechnology and electronic commerce. It was launched in December 2018 and currently has more than 70 companies and a prediction of three thousand jobs created in the coming years by companies already in situ. However, the intention of the ecosystem is to grow significantly. There are levers for it. It is an urban environment with medium-sized cities where costs are maintained at reasonable levels, an environment capable of attracting talent and loyalty with natural and cultural factors through urban policies that meet the demands of leisure, culture and free time. And while its hands and eyes are in the present, its mind is in the future.
Where is the Distrito Digital heading?
Our purpose is to encourage all international companies to contemplate the possibility of coming to install some of their business units in an environment that will help them access the Spanish, southern European and Latin American markets. Likewise, we want to invite you to visit our facilities, check the excellence of space, and taste the best rice in the world.