The Region of Valencia is located on the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. It has a surface area of 23,255 km2, representing 4.6% of Spanish territory and 0.6% of the European Union. It is part of the so-called “Mediterranean Arc”. With a north- south orientation, the area has 451 km of coastline on the Mediterranean Sea.
The current economic structure of the Valencia region is the result of a significant evolution. In a relatively short period, the area has evolved from a traditionally agricultural-based society to providing the services and industrial activities typical of an economically advanced society.
The Gross Domestic Product of the Valencia Region represents 9.8% of the total figure for Spain. In the case of the industrial sector, this percentage rises to 10.59%. The Valencia Region boasts the third largest GDP for industry among the autonomous regions of Spain. The service sector represents 59.54% of the regional GDP. The industrial sector, in turn, has a great weight, accounting for 14.67% of the regional GDP (26.3% if including construction).
The relatively small agricultural sector contributes 2.01% of the regional GDP. This highly competitive sector is geared towards agricultural exports, with citrus fruit production being especially noteworthy.
INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND RESEARCH
The Valencian industrial model is characterised by its great diversity. This is largely due to an indigenous industrialisation process, based on sectors with a strong artisan history: shoes, toys, textiles, furniture, tiles, ceramics etc.
The geographical distribution of economic activity in the Valencia region has developed and settled in clusters located in different regions, which mainly depend on their artisan tradition and proximity to administrative and business centres.
In relation to the size of companies, there is a great variety, with a predominance of smaller sized companies. Small industries are found mainly in the sub-sectors of wood and furniture, machinery, paper and graphic arts. There are a high proportion of medium-sized industries within the footwear, ceramics, toys and chemicals sub-sectors.
One of the most relevant characteristics to be highlighted is the marked vocation for modernisation and diversification of the Region. The Institute of Valencian SMEs – IMPIVA (Instituto de la Mediana y Pequeña Industria Valenciana de la Generalitat Valenciana) is the Regional Development Agency in charge of the regional innovation system management. Therefor, IMPIVA’s infrastructure for supporting and developing the industrial activity includes four European Business and Innovation centres (CEEI). There are currently operating at sites in Alcoy Castellón, Elche and Valencia, promoting the creation of new businesses capable of diversifying the region’s industrial activity and providing support to fledgling entrepreneurs. This activity is complemented by the network of fourteen Technological Institutes (REDIT) that group together companies belonging to the most important sectors of the Valencian economy. They provide services to industry, developing laboratory tests, technological assessments, R+D projects etc
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