CaixaResearch Artificial Placenta, the pioneering project that develops artificial placentas for premature babies and that allows the fetus to be kept outside the mother's womb in an environment as similar as possible to it, thus minimizing the risk of sequelae, has been chosen winner of the Círculo Ecuestre Relevant Young Award 2024. The award has been awarded in the VIII edition of this initiative of social and business interest promoted by the club and whose purpose is to project the talent of young entrepreneurs. 

The event brought together more than a hundred members and had the notable presence of the president of the Círculo Ecuestre, Enrique Lacalle, who valued the significant value of the award for recognizing and promoting young talent for another year.

The Círculo Ecuestre Relevant Young Award is an initiative that arose from the work of the entity's youngest members, through the New Initiatives Commission (CNI), and that seeks to recognize and distinguish a person or team under 40 years of age who has developed or is developing a project with social impact. This is a benchmark award of social and business interest in the city of Barcelona that has the support of Savills, CaixaBank, IESE Business School and UIC Barcelona as sponsors and with La Vanguardia as a collaborator.

In this edition, CaixaResearch Artificial Placenta has been selected for its social purpose and its ambition to develop an artificial placenta for extremely premature babies that allows the fetus to be kept outside the mother's uterus in an environment as similar as possible to it and thus minimize the risk. of sequels. What the project achieves is that the artificial placenta significantly reduces complications derived from extreme prematurity (and other fetal conditions), increasing survival and reducing the morbidity associated with extreme prematurity. Furthermore, in a more advanced phase, it allows interventions on the fetus in malformations or serious illnesses.

As a prize, the winner, Elisenda Bonet-Carne, scientific manager of CaixaResearch Artificial Placenta, and the finalists, Marc Coloma, CEO of Heura Foods, and Anna Lloveras, scientific director and co-founder of Ocean Ecostructures, have received different gifts from the institution and the main sponsors of the event. Thus, the winner of the 2024 edition will have a club membership card for two years - and the finalists will have one year; a cash prize of 3,000€ for the project, from CaixaBank; full enrollment for the Focused Program at IESE Business School - University of Navarra, which allows you to explore in depth specific topics that may be interesting for your project, and the opportunity to take the most popular subject of the Master of Entrepreneurship at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya that best suits their needs.

The other two finalist projects were Heura Foods and Ocean Ecostructures. The first of them is a startup in the food technology industry founded with the purpose of driving the global protein transition towards a positive impact food system. The company leads the growth of the alternative protein sector in Spain and consolidates its position in key markets such as the United Kingdom, France and Italy. Today, Heura Foods is a leader in the food industry, has its own technology and is on its way to becoming the leader in vegetable protein in the European market.

Secondly, Ocean Ecostructures has been selected as a finalist for being a young technology company specialized in the regeneration of biodiversity to compensate for the negative impact of infrastructures such as ports or wind farms located on the high seas, turning them into living spaces without interfering in their operations. The entity claims to have developed “a multi-technology solution unique in the world.”

The winning initiative was chosen at the gala dinner that was held at the Círculo Ecuestre facilities and in which the members were in charge of selecting which project should be the winner through a vote.

This year, the contest has had the participation of around fifty projects that provide a benefit to society in the areas of culture, business, social work, respect for the environment or promotion of R&D. Of these, six were chosen by the Organizing Committee and the Nominations Committee to advance to the next phase. After this first selection, a jury made up of personalities from the business sector and Catalan civil society chose the three finalists who presented their work at the final dinner last Thursday, May 9.