South Summit: The most valuable network for entrepreneurship and business

For us, 2022 is a year marked in our agendas. This year we are celebrating our 10th anniversary at South Summit Madrid from 8 to 10 June, in Madrid. These 10 years have helped us to transform the global entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem, positioning us as the main encounter and connection point for each of the actors that make it up.

South Summit, created by Maria Benjumea in 2012, has taken Spanish entrepreneurship to an international level and has become a referent.

Each edition has brought together in Madrid an ever-growing ecosystem of startups, international investors, and corporations. This has led to the generation of endless business opportunities and high-value connections, as well as the dissemination and debate of new trends and innovations in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.


How did the South Summit begin?

South Summit was born under the name of Spain Startup and was held for the first time in June 2012. The decision to create an environment where entrepreneurs could connect with investors and corporations’ stems from the experience and entrepreneurial vision of its founder, Maria Benjumea.

With the motivation of confronting the previous four years of crisis and preventing our entrepreneurs from having to flee their country of origin to pursue their dreams, an evolutionary process began in the culture of companies with respect to corporate innovation.

For this first encounter, the aim was to create a global competition between the most groundbreaking projects. All this in an ideal environment to generate networking and synergies among all attendees. With the intention of making the event even more global, in 2014 the decision was taken to rename it South Summit.

The editions held in Madrid have had a socio-economic impact on both the city and the country itself; generating economic activity and employment in the region; improving the image and reputation of Spain through its powerful media impact and promoting the culture of innovation within companies.

This has allowed Madrid to experience significant growth within the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem, surpassing Barcelona for the first time in terms of startup investment volume in 2021.

It is estimated that South Summit 2022 will have an economic impact on the Community of around €20M, which will allow us to set a new milestone.


10 years of growth and expansion

In these 10 years, South Summit has set numerous goals to continue growing and supporting a valuable network of entrepreneurs who are fighting for their ideas and projects at a global level. Throughout this journey, we have experienced a dizzying growth to become a model. Year after year we have managed to reach different parts of the world, strengthening our global character.

An adventure that began with 500 attendees, 70 investors and 185 entrepreneurs and that, 10 years later, for our most special edition, from 8 to 10 June in Madrid. Last year, 22.000 attendees, both physical and virtual, 8.000 entrepreneurs and 1.300 investors attended.

Beyond analysing innovative solutions that provide answers to the complexity of today’s world, the main objective of South Summit 2022 will focus on bringing the ecosystem closer to the great technological advances, the evolutionary pace of innovation and the great challenge of combating climate change. Therefore, South Summit 2022 is entitled “[De]coding complexity”.

It is undeniable that the number of editions in these 10 years has grown exponentially. But what we are most proud of is the growth we have contributed to the national ecosystem, multiplying the value of the entrepreneurial ecosystem itself by 20 times and currently employing almost 140,000 people.

Investment in Spanish startups grew at a compound annual rate of 48% between 2012 and 2021, in that period, South Summit multiplied by 8 the number of investors attending.


For a 100% sustainable and emission-free global ecosystem

Today, South Summit is a cross-border event, attracting more and more startups, investors, and corporations from all corners of the world.

But the experience goes much further, becoming one of the main innovation platforms also in Latin America, thanks to the Alianza del Pacífico, México, Bogotá and Brazil editions.

Despite being the first South Summit Brazil, in Porto Alegre, the attendance and participation figures have far exceeded expectations.

In these 3 days, South Summit Brazil has managed to attract a total audience of 20,000 people; an average of 40,000 contacts have been made; more than 7,500 international business representatives; 450 investors and 20 investment funds with a portfolio of $ 65 billion and 500 global speakers. In addition, more than 1,000 innovative projects were presented at the Startup Competition.

Our commitment to the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem is driven by a sustainable economy that guides our steps and focuses entrepreneurs as a solution and response to this climate crisis.

Every crisis brings an opportunity and, for us, the 8-10 June edition in Madrid is key to inspire the next generations of the ecosystem and to move towards a global emission-free economy that accelerates this ecological transition that is incumbent on all of us.

For this reason, this edition includes an even more ambitious sustainability plan than in previous years, with the aim of reducing its impact on the environment as much as possible through a series of actions aligned with 12 of the 17 SDGs.


#SouthSummit22: Decoding Complexity

2022 come to provide answers to the complexities of this world. That’s why the title of our program is: Decoding Complexity. The complete program matches with high-level global speakers will delight us with their vision and experience. The main topics are: Intelligent – Complex, Innovation and Ecosystem, ClimateTech, FinTech, Decentralization, Value Based Business, Sustainability and New Dimensions.

The experience and professional vision of more than 600 speakers will help us to cover each of the topics raised. In this edition we have the best specialists of international prestige.

Among them, we will be joined by Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and known for his commitment to climate change as an environmental activist.  Al Gore, founder of the Alliance for Climate Protection and Generation Investment Management, will tell us about the challenge in which he is currently immersed: to find intelligent and sustainable transport solutions that reduce environmental pollution.

Another of the most outstanding participations is that of Pablo Isla, former Chairman and CEO of Inditex until last March. Pablo Isla, current Chairman of the International Board of Trustees of IE University and global advisor to the General Atlantic fund, was considered the World’s Best CEO in 2017 and 2018 by Harvard Business Review and the best CEO of the decade in 2020 by Forbes.

In addition, this edition is marked by professionals such as Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a project with which he managed to bring education to any part of the world; Marci Zaroff, founder and CEO of ECOfashion, committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly fashion; the co-founder and CEO of SuperWorld, Hrish Lotlikar; the co-founder and CEO of Aerofarms, Marc Oshima; the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, Youth and Sport, Mariya Gabriel, among others.

The professional experience and motivation in the field of innovation and the business world will serve as an inspiration to all those entrepreneurs that encompass the growing ecosystem that we have today.

For 3 days, South Summit becomes the best global showcase for the world’s leading companies, startups, entrepreneurs, investors, and institutions to accelerate innovation, build strong relationships, identify opportunities, and generate business.

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