The mission of the Barcelona-based Ship2B Foundation is to promote the impact economy
Clara Navarro Colomer, Co-founder and CEO of the Ship2B Foundation
What does the club specialize in?
Our mission is to promote the Impact Economy, whose main purpose is for startups, businesses, investors and organizations not only to maximize their profitability, but also to improve their social and environmental impact.
When did you start working at the foundation?
I founded the foundation in 2013, together with Maite Fibla Gasparin and Xavier Pont Martin.
What do you like most about your job?
Being in daily contact with creative people who think optimistically about the future and seek solutions to problems. I also enjoy continuing to learn, even if that often means living permanently out of one's comfort zone.
And the least?
As in any other job, sometimes we have to manage conflicts or undertake negotiations that keep us awake at night. But over time you always get a better perspective on things.
In what respects do you think your organization stands out?
The foundation is currently one of the leading bodies working on the Impact Economy in Spain. We have extensive experience in accelerating and investing in impact startups and helping companies and large corporations to integrate impact into their value chain through innovation. We also help the voluntary sector to become more self-sustaining. We do many things, but our intention is to take a lead in driving the impact economy, to always be at the forefront of new developments.
What is your main challenge?
Our main challenge is to demonstrate that impact can be profitable. In other words, we are convinced—and there are already several cases to prove the point—that it is possible to create self-sustaining companies that can obtain market returns while solving a social and/or environmental problem. Perhaps the biggest challenge we face, not only as an organization but also as a sector, is that of scaling up. The challenge is to enable companies with the notion of impact in their DNA to really scale up without losing their essence, and to help those those that are already large to take advantage of their assets to serve social causes. In a market that doubled in size in Spain last year and which is ten times larger globally than four years ago, we must ask ourselves how we move from small impacts to scalable impacts.
Where is your entity located? Why was this location chosen?
Although the foundation aims to work throughout Spain, our organization was founded in Barcelona. We started in Balmes street but now we are based near Glòries in Poblenou. Our offices are at the Barcelona Activa Almogàvers Business Factory, an institution that has given us considerable support since our beginnings.
What do you like the most about the neighborhood where you work?
Poblenou is a neighborhood that is home to a highly diverse entrepreneurial and business ecosystem. The neighborhood stands for innovation, continuous change, and there is a mix of people working in different professions and sectors. This is important for the Ship2B Foundation and necessary for advancing towards the impact economy.
How important is Barcelona for your company?
Barcelona has long been considered one of the main innovation hubs in Europe and is home to numerous leading startups. In addition to attracting key events in different sectors such as the Mobile World Congress, the Smart City World Congress and the S2B Impact Forum, we also have a number of robust ecosystems, in fields such as health, sustainability, mobility, and education. Our name, Ship2B (Ship to B) is a metaphor for the entrepreneurs who are taking society to a better world—a "Plan B" for society and the economy. I personally like the idea that Barcelona may lead Plan B on a global level.
Which city would you compare Barcelona with?
As a Barcelonian who has lived in many places, I often come to the conclusion that Barcelona is unique... One of the things I like most about this city is that it is an amalgam of so many different places. It has aspects that remind me of Buenos Aires, others of Rome, San Francisco, or Lisbon... In general, I would say it can be compared to any "human" and "walkable" city that is close to the beach and the mountains, one which also has an open and commercial spirit and a good mix of tradition and modernity.
What city model should Barcelona adopt?
I'm not sure if this is really the time for thinking in terms of models, because the world is changing so fast and maybe it's time to lead with new models and patterns. I dream of a Barcelona capable of balancing its tension and contradictions. A Greater Barcelona capable of working in symbiosis with neighboring territories, but still being "human" and "walkable." A Barcelona that is competitive at a global level but that cares for the quality of life of its citizens, its local shops, and its SMEs. A Barcelona that trains and exports ambassadorial talent and attracts and retains adoptive Barcelonians. A Barcelona rooted in its traditions, but capable of visualizing the future of humanity and making a contribution. A Barcelona that is both technological and humanist. The winning model will be the one that achieves a good balance; the magic is to be found in between the lines...
What good practices from other cities would you like Barcelona to adopt?
I have been lucky enough to live in London, and, though one can't compare Barcelona to London, there are some things I would love to "import" from there. It would be great to have more green spaces within the city. Curiously, it makes the air in London much more breathable than in Barcelona despite its larger size. It also makes a great impact on health, quality of life of the inhabitants, and the spirit of the city. Also I love the fact that London is a real melting pot, a city where everyone is a foreigner, but where everyone feels welcome immediately, a truly global society. It is a spirit that I sometimes miss: in Barcelona we still tend to be too inward-looking.
What do you ask of the Barcelona of the future?
I would like the city to take more risks and to lead in our own way as we have done in the past, for example, with the 1992 Olympics. The city must serve the people, not the other way around. And it should take advantage of the enormous opportunity to consolidate itself as a world capital of entrepreneurship and innovation. But it should do so with a purpose: to contribute great solutions to the world; we should ask ourselves what we want to contribute to the world and then we should move forward in that direction.
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