In Galicia (Spain) the number and size of ICT services providers specialising in free and open source software is growing, thanks in part to the regional government’s IT policy which promotes this kind of software, according to Alejendro Lamas, vice president of Cluster TIC Galicia, an ICT trade group.
The total turnover of small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) specialising in ICT services based on free and open source software is some EUR 20 million, according to Agasol, a business associations of 20 free and open source ICT service providers in the region.
Mr Lamas, in his speech at the LibreCon conference in Santiago de Compostela on 19 and 20 October, noted that 90 percent of ICT companies in Galicia are SMBs. The vast majority of these (90%) use free software solutions, he says. “Free software eliminates barriers for SMBs, helping them to become a strategic part of the ICT sector in Galicia. This sector now employs about 17,000 people, according to the Cluster TIC Galicia. In 2016, its total revenue was about EUR 3 billion, making it Spain’s fifth largest ICT sector.
The LibreCon conference is organised annually by Spain’s regional governments and business associations. A statement published by this year’s organisers quotes the director of Amtega, Galicia’s agency for technological modernisation, Mar Pereira, saying that “free software has demonstrated its ability to drive modernisation.”
Agasol used the conference to call on Galicia’s agrifood companies to increase their use of ICT solutions based on free software . “This will be key to increasing the competitiveness of the sector”, the LibreCon organisers quote Agasol president Carlos Rodríguez as saying.
The Galician government is encouraging the use of this technology. The 2017 Free Software Plan promotes sharing and reuse of ICT solutions, and boosts the development and sharing of free software in the areas of industry, agriculture, healthcare, social services and education.