IKD Gazte is a programme coordinated by the University of the Basque Country in collaboration with Fomento San Sebastián, the city local economic development agency. The programme aims to foster the city youth capacities linked to innovation, while solving social and economic issues. The approach is bottom-up and top down, as the challenges can be proposed bi-directionally.

The 2017 IKD Gazte edition participants worked on a challenge identified by the Altza neighbourhood’s merchants association, which led to a really fruitful collaboration between highly qualified multidisciplinary students and 13 members of different shops located in Altza neighbourhood, specially affected by the crisis, and counts one of the highest unemployment rates of the city, one of the lowest education city levels, etc.

For the 2017 edition, Altza´s merchants association proposed to work with the neighbourhood’s merchants in a knowledge transfer programme, trying to open their minds and give them access to all the possibilities and benefices that the digitalization of their business could offer. 

Image: Some of the working dynamics between the university students and merchants from Altza. 

Different dynamics were organized between the two groups in order to make them know each other, have a better perspective on the nature and current situations, and then be able to identify a proper itinerary to help merchants from Altza. The methodology used was also important, as Design Thinking steps were applied to solve the matter: this aspect also gave an important new insight both to the merchants and the students. 

Students’ multidisciplinarity was a key success factor, as they were able to provide different solutions/options to the merchants: new business models, marketing strategies, data analysis procedures to have better selling strategies, payments through terminals, etc.


  • Intensive work from February to May 2017
  • 10 students and 13 merchants
  • Digitalization process is quite easy to implement in small businesses
  • The 13 merchants introduced innovative concepts in their businesses (each of them at a different level but with clear signs of improvement from a business point of view).
  • Students access to the reality of business
  • Specific visual identity and documents
  • Experts mentoring in different fields such as innovative project development, financing and technical viability of business projects, social innovation.

This is a first step to keep working and improving some of the areas more affected by the crisis and have a real impact through innovation 

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