The Official Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg awarded José María Zabala, chairman and founder in 1986 of Zabala Innovation Consulting, in recognition of his leadership in the areas of entrepreneurship and innovation.
Juan Rodríguez Villa, president of the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, highlighted the personal and professional qualities of José María Zabala. Zabala grew from a two-people company to an international consultancy employing 200+ qualified professionals in 9 offices around Europe: Brussels, London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Vigo and Pamplona (headquarters).
Dominique Ristori, General Director for Energy in the EC, was the special guest in the event that brought together over one hundred institutional representatives (from local offices of the Spanish regions in Brussels and a number of European Commission delegates), Brussels-based companies representatives, entrepreneurs and European business associations.
Dominique Ristori remarked that “innovation and the Energy Union are fundamental for a better European future.” In this regard, Ristori emphasised that Zabala contributes to the promotion of European values and acts as a leader in the area of innovation: “Europe needs makers like José Mari, able to work with actors coming from all over Europe, promoting unity and bringing them together around common projects.”
During his speech, José María Zabala recalled the company’s trajectory and emphasised that Brussels was a special and strategic location for his firm. Indeed, Europe is part of Zabala’s DNA since its creation. Zabala’s proficiency and expertise in the field of European projects have led to the opening of the Brussels’ office in 2003. Zabala’s European projects activity has steadily grown since then.
The strategic opening of the Brussels office demonstrates and increases the international stature of the company. Zabala managed to be involved in 12 awarded European FP7 projects and activities, leading 4 of them. Within the Seventh Framework Programme, Zabala obtained €500 million of grants for its customers, representing 1% of the total Programme budget, with a 34% success rate in terms of project approvals, against a European average of 14%. In the last decade, Zabala has secured €700 million of grants for its clients from various sectors: clean energy, energy efficiency, smart cities, ICT, biotechnology and so on.
“Without Value Added Tax, no innovation is possible” said José María Zabala. He added that innovation is the best way to improve competiveness and operating results. Indeed, Zabala‘s core business is to help companies turn an idea into a real project. According to José María Zabala, “it is fundamental to cooperate and to find the ideal partners to carry out an innovative project”.
Finally, José Mari Zabala thanked everyone who is contributing to Zabala’s success: “the clients who believed in Zabala’s expertise as well as collaborators, partners, research centres, universities, European agencies, national and local administrations, small and big companies, etc., the innovation ecosystem defines our activity and our fundamental purpose”.
Zabala’s European activities include the management of the secretariats of the ETP Smartgrids and the EIP Market Place SmartCities (Market Place of the EIP on Smart Cities and Communities) and a strong involvement in other SmartCities related projects such as Replicate, Sinfonia and Eugugle.
#InnovationWorks and #Zabala30 are the hashtags to follow all the updates and the celebrations of the 30th anniversary happening throughout this year (2016).