San Sebastián to invest more than 5 million Euros and create more than 800 jobs with the second Economic Reactivation Plan
- The package will target the retail and hospitality sectors, employment, enterprise, businesses and transformation and challenges of the economic model.
- It will include a new round of purchase vouchers, and new family reconciliation vouchers to help care for the children of disadvantaged families.
- The grants will be available from the Fomento de San Sebastián website fomentosansebastian.eus
San Sebastián’s Department of Economic Promotion, through Fomento de San Sebastián, is to implement the second phase of PREK, the city’s Economic Reactivation Plan, which contemplates a range of support measures in a bid to mitigate the second economic impact forecast for Donostia’s economy as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. The aid package sets out to restart the job market with assistance for new hirings in both the public and private sectors, and the creation of almost 800 jobs.
Support for the retail and hospitality sectors with a new package of consumption vouchers, and assistance with the digital transformation of both sectors, offering advice and assistance to set up new companies, support for any SMEs that may decide to refocus their business, and development of collaborative platforms to address the city’s challenges online, form part of the new aid package, to be deployed in October in the total amount of 5,235,205 €. The plan is funded by San Sebastián Town Hall (Fomento de San Sebastián), the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council and the Basque Government.
Eneko Goia, Mayor of Donostia/San Sebastián, spoke of “effort and cooperation” among various public authorities, and their connection to the private sector to implement “programmes that are actually effective” in a bid to mitigate job losses in a context where the downturn in economic activity “is leaving consequences which will take time to rectify”. Goia also pointed out the Town Hall had already taken measures during the first phase of the pandemic, and is now enhancing its role as economic reactivation agent with a number of programmes to mobilise activity and a flow of cash towards the sectors hardest hit. In this regard, he said initiatives such as consumer vouchers for the retail and hospitality sectors had met with a warm welcome. He also mentioned the “contrasted effectiveness with experience” of employment plans to assist with the insertion of groups in danger of exclusion from the job market.
Economic Promotion Councillor Marisol Garmendia said “this Plan again sets out to prove a useful instrument for many small retailers and outlets in the city in the aftermath of the first wave, fearful of their situation amid an increase in restrictive measures due to a resurge of the health crisis. We firmly defend the need to support smaller retail businesses, as the backbone of the economy of San Sebastián and the jobs of many of the city’s families. I also wish to point out that the plan is particularly sensitive, because it promotes positive discrimination with regard to women, those over 45 years old, and areas of districts of the city with greater impact on unemployment and economic activity”.
The Basque Government’s Head of Employment and Inclusion, Alfonso Gurpegui, remarked “I wish to point out the collaboration among the institutions and social and economic agents in the territory to implement plans such as PREK, with a major job-creation component, one of the chief concerns of local people at this time. We feel employment is a major political, social and economic priority, and we intend to make use of all our resources to mitigate the crisis caused by Covid-19. We want to give everyone access to quality jobs to enable them to walk a proper path through life”.
Imanol Lasa, Head of Economic Promotion, Tourism and the Rural Environment, said: “overcoming this crisis means stepping up collaboration, at all levels, and fully concentrating on priorities. The Plan meets both of these requirements. It is a roadmap that not only supports the sectors which have been hardest hit by the Covid crisis and which are most important to the city, such as retail and hospitality, but also boosts transformation of the economic fabric in terms of its processes, such as digitalisation, where it is our competitiveness that is at stake, in addition to our future welfare. I feel sure the impact will be enormously positive”.
In due consideration of the social and economic impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, San Sebastián Town Hall is about to activate the second phase of the PREK scheme with urgent social and economic measures to minimise the impact on the economy and facilitate a rapid recovery when the health emergency has been overcome. All information on the aid packages and how to apply for them (they will be up and running in October) will be posted on the Fomento de San Sebastián website (www.fomentosansebastian.eus). Those interested also have a helpline on 943 482800, and an online chat facility on the website to clear up any doubts.
The plan has five prongs:
1.- Employment. The plan has a budget of 2,951,022 €, and aims to assist with new hirings in both the public and private sectors:
- A boost for jobs in the public sector: working alongside Lanbide, plans have been made to take on 70 jobless people through the Town Hall and social organisations.
- Focus on jobs for young people. As part of the 2014-2020 Operational Youth Employment Programmes, Lanbide will be giving employment opportunities to young jobless people in the city.
- Assistance with hiring staff. Alongside Lanbide, almost 300 contracts will be activated by the local private sector.
- Help to take on young people with qualifications. 35 aid packages for places at companies and technology centres in the city to carry out innovative projects.
- The “Reaktiva-T” employment activation programme. Crash training and guidance scheme for people recently expelled from the job market. It has been calculated that the scheme will create 75 new jobs.
- The “Reaktiva-T+45” programme. With the assistance of the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council, this scheme will help people over 45 years old to move into the job market. It has been calculated that the scheme will create 20 new jobs.
- The “Reaktiva-T Zona Este” programme. Support and aid for guidance, training, enterprise, economic activity and family reconciliation for districts in east San Sebastián.
*Reconciliation vouchers. These will be distributed to families in a situation of vulnerability who require child care outside school time. A number of venues will be established in the city to provide assistance for children outside school.
2.- Assistance for the Retail and Hospitality sectors. Two of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, with a budget of 1,038,970 €.
- Consumer vouchers and implementation of the Donostia Market Plaza platform with new functions and services, for customers and also for business outlets.
- Assistance with adaptation of premises and digital transformation. With the assistance of the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council, for investment and studies to adapt businesses in both these areas.
- Agreements with sectoral organisations (retail and hospitality associations) to implement a digital culture among associates, promotional campaigns, job maintenance assistance following the ERTE and CATA redundancy and business termination agreements, improvement of competitiveness and enterprise, training and webinars.
- Technological solutions for the retail and hospitality sectors. Technological support and advisory to design and adapt retail and hospitality outlets. It has been calculated that the scheme will create 100 new jobs.
3.- Assistance to set up businesses. This section has a budget of 525,513 €, and focuses on stepping up training services, expert advisory, feasibility analyses etc. It has been calculated that it could create almost 200 new jobs.
- Assistance to set up businesses, with special allowances for certain groups, up to 4,000 €, in addition to guidance, training, and project advisory.
- The “Reaktiva-T” programme for enterprise initiatives. Online tools, webinars, advisory and group activities.
- Assistance with the implementation of projects in the initial stages.
- The “Ekin+” enterprise programme. A programme for projects with the potential to generate business with high added value and top-quality employment. It offers expert assistance and advisory, with a particular emphasis on solutions for businesses and sectors affected by the pandemic.
- Virtual enterprise and entrepreneurial centre. A web space with tools, guidance, access to specific programmes, mentors, good practices, entrepreneurs’ community, and connections to agents and companies.
4.- Assistance with maintaining and carrying out business projects. The budget for this section stands at 619,700 €.
- Economic assistance for maintaining and diversifying activity. This targets SMEs, and includes allowances for project innovation and scope, grants for courses of action to boost competitiveness and maintain employment. The areas eligible for grants could be business consultancy, staff training intraenterprise, new products etc.
- Technology development services and assistance. Vouchers for technological assistance from local research centres (Ceit, CIC biomaGUNE, CIC NanoGUNE, ISS Biodonostia, Tecnalia, Tecnun and Vicomtech).
- Advisory and support for business projects, in key areas such as increased competitiveness and business transformation.
5.- Transformation and challenges of the economic model. The impact of the crisis ushered in by Covid-19 forces us to rethink our economic models. A number of initiatives are available, on a budget of 100,000 €:
- Organisation of the “WeekINN” Innovation Week as a space for the launch of new initiatives to build our city around the key areas of people, technology and new collaborative models.
- Platform to address the challenges of the city online. Implementation of a work process on post-Covid 19 scenarios with youth groups and students in secondary and higher education, along with the city’s businesses and its scientific-technological ecosystem.
- Platform to support innovative healthcare projects, in cooperation with the Biodonostia Institute.
Update of the economic diagnosis
Trends in the city’s ERTE redundancy schemes are positive. The latest data, for August, reveal that, of the procedures enacted during the peak period in May (10,220), only 16% (1,676) are still ongoing. 347 relate to hospitality, 200 to small retail outlets, and 150 to administrative activities and auxiliary services. This group contains placement and temping agencies, rentals and travel agencies. More than one hundred procedures concern the manufacturing industry, which affects small workshops in the city’s industrial complexes.
Social security registrations continue to fall, reaching an all-time low in August with a loss of 7,235 employees (-6.1%) against the figures for February. However, considering the increase in registrations that had been forecast for the year 2020 under normal conditions, the estimated loss is 8% (-9,433 registrations). Almost all of them were on the general system of people employed by third parties.
Most jobs were lost in March and April. September was the first month in which numbers of jobless fell, to a total of 9,526 people out of work. In terms of sexes, unemployment has affected men and women in a similar manner. At the present time unemployment among women accounts for 53% of the jobless total.
Turning to unemployment in terms of age, the figures show that it has risen in all age groups. In absolute terms the hardest hit are those between 25 and 44 years old, with more than 1,000 new jobseekers, whereas numbers of young people and those over 45 years old have increased by around 500 new jobless. In terms of the percentage distribution compared to the total, those over 45 years have now fallen to under 50%, the intermediate age stands at over 41%, and young people have increased the most, at 9.6%.