Enkarterri Open Lab - Your place for agro-food innovation
Organisation : DOT Coop on behalf of ADR Enkarterrialde , Spain

ENKARTERRI OPEN LAB was born in September 2019 with the aim of facilitating the detection of innovation opportunities in the agri-food sector through social innovation partices. We foster a platform and a network of agents from the agri-food and social innovation sectors to connect, inspire and create high-impact initiatives that help the Enkarterri region in the Basque Country to be a more innovative territory, with greater well-being, better inhabited, a benchmark in public-private participation and a place ready to be a pioneering region in creating a new rurality and providing solutions for the rural-urban gap.

Agendas addressed
Greenfield land and natural spaceClimate changeSocial inclusion and integration
Local economies and employment
Pathways followed
  • Ensure equal access to municipal services
  • Involve citizens through participatory implementation
  • Encourage local private and civic engagement
  • Promote social innovation supporting inclusion
  • Nurture a sharing economy
  • Capitalise on local economy and production
  • Create and close local value chains
  • Pursue a shift towards a circular economy
  • Accelerate sustainability and innovation through public procurement
  • Prepare policies for socio-cultural changes due to innovation
Enkarterri Open Lab /BIZI workshop

The Enkarterri region (in the Basque Country, Spain) has been particularly hard hit by the crisis and trends in the rural sector, which has had a negative impact on the development of the region and on the competitiveness of its business fabric and well-being Social. In fact, two of the Encartaciones municipalities, Karrantza and Lanestosa, are among the four most unemployed in the Basque Country, both with rates above 23%.


- Project to strengthen the entrepreneurial fabric of the region, improve its competitiveness and create new jobs, with a focus on social innovation and the gastro-food sector.

- Advanced entrepreneurship program to facilitate new business initiatives and employment, with special attention to youth, women and the first sector.


* Enkarterri Open Lab website:

* ADR Enkarterrialde (Rural Development Agency):

* DOT Coop: +

In Action
example of Enkarterri Open Lab /BIZI invitation

To carry out the Enkarterri Open Lab actions, we rely on 3 key vectors, a model that we have called the C CIC model ’:

1- Connect: #Community #Networking #Alliances ---> Enkarterri Open Lab / FEST

We want to generate a fertile and trustworthy network among the entrepreneurial initiatives of the region. We believe in collaboration and in open and multidisciplinary innovation as a lever for creating opportunities.

Agents involved:  Anaïs Iglesias - Responsible for entrepreneurship at the Basque Culinary Center Ana Enrich - Director of alliances with companies from Ashoka Spain Bittor Oroz - Basque Government Cristina Múgica - General Director of Territorial Competitiveness and Tourism at the Provincial Council of Bizkaia Iñigo Blanco - DOT S.Coop Oscar Ugarte - Bizkaia Seed Capital Jon Ander Egaña - Director of the Food Cluster of the Basque Country Javier Bilbao - Regional Sales Manager of Grupo Eroski Aitor Larrinaga - Mayor of Balmaseda Naia Andonegi - General Director of Food Technology at Leartiker S.Coop Begoña Pérez - EIT Food Ander Mendez - Epic Food Tech Galder Reguera - Athletic Club Fundazioa Oihane Aldaytorriaga - BBK Foundation

2- Inspire: #Trends #LearningJourneys #SucessStories ---> Enkarterri Open Lab / BIZI

We seek to bring trends, success stories and high impact training to Enkarterrialde. Not only socializing and publicizing initiatives in the region, but also connecting local organizations and entrepreneurs with others from other regions and other parts of the state.

Agents involved: DOT Coop,  EROSKI S.Coop,  Basque Food Cluster

3- Create: #Training #Entrepreneurship #Innovation ---> Enkarterri Open Lab / BOOTCAMP

We seek tangible results. We want to transform the existing initiatives in the region while facilitating the design and implementation of new impact solutions that generate a positive impact in Enkarterrialde.

Agents involved: ADR Enkarterrialde DOT Coop Eroski Coop BBK Foundation Leartiker Coop DeepDip - Friday Foods SL

Enkarterri Open Lab Kick Off
  • Successful vision to activate an ecosystem of agro-food innovation in Enkarterri. The region can lead a wave of innovation in this sector. There is interest and potential for Enkarterri to lead a social innovation shift thought the food & agro sectors.
  • 19 INITIATIVES from Enkarterri (and even outside the regions) have gone through the / BOOTCAMP and innovated on: dairy sector, local production, chocolate manufacturing, social inclusion on the rural sector, seed custody, retail innovation, electrib mobility delivery services in rural areas ...
  • EROSKI (biggest Spanish super & hypermarket chain): Collaboration agreement + Enkarterri initiative presentation session to the Local Eroski team in Balmaseda
  • LEARTIKER: Collaboration agreement + 3 training sessions in Dairy, Meat and Prest (new gastronomic preparations)
  • EUSKADI FOOD CLUSTER: Presentation of the strategy for the first sector of the Cluster in Balmaseda.
  • BASQUE CULINARY CENTER: Visit to the BCC in Donostia by interested Enkarterri initiatives + Explore concrete collaborations with the BCC (For example with BasqueTxok and with Balmaseda Activa - La Break with research groups at the university)
  • Provincial Council of Bizkaia supports the platform as a key tool for territorial development
  • All majors from Enkarterri region alligned with the project vision with a key support from Balmaseda Townhall as key partner
  • + 60 people trained thought the /BOOTCAMP and /BIZI session (50% women)
  • + 20 initiatives from the rural & food sector taken part


"It is time for public institutions to make a renewed commitment to our first sector", claimed yesterday the mayor of Balmaseda, Aitor Larrinaga.

"The new director of territorial competitiveness and tourism of the Department, Cristina Múgica has concluded the presentation act highlighting that beyond the financial support to the project, one of the main keys of the project and of the intentions of the Department of Economic Promotion is to bet on the perspective district and for territorial balance, especially in Enkarterri which is a priority area of ​​action in Bizkaia."

"Peli Manterola, director of Quality and Food Industries of the Basque Government, took the floor to highlight the connections that this project has with its area of ​​activity and especially with the Katilu space, focused on activating innovation in the field. rural development and community building among the various agents in the food value chain."

"Juanra Melchisidor from the Rural Development Agency Enkarterrialde has highlighted the importance of having the collaboration of the network of agents from various fields such as gastronomy, food and healthy living to promote this type of project."

Challenges and lessons learned
EROSKI supermarkets and Enkarterri Open Lab strategic agreement


  • Include Enkarterri Open Lab in ADR Enkarterrialde's strategic plans, and other regional and city council strategies.
  • Getting new municipalities to join the initiative (Karrantza, Güeñes ...) and creating new activities in these environments.
  • Obtain strategic support from the Provincial Council of Bizkaia.
  • Creating alliances beyond the Basque Country with spaces such as EL HUECO in Soria or with social entrepreneurs from the ASHOKA network.
  • Explore the possibility of activating a unique and benchmark project in Enkarterrialde in 2021: RURAL AGRO-FOOD INNOVATION LAB: Center for Innovation in agro-food and the fight against rural depopulation.
Enkarterri Open Lab - Intro


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