By Emily Goddard

Alejandro Blanco with the selected entrepeneurs of the 2020 for 2020 Startup Madrid programmeApril 17 - Madrid 2020 has named the 12 business start-up projects that will take part in its 2020 for 2020: Startup Madrid initiative that aims to rejuvenate the Spanish economy as part of the Olympic and Paralympic bid.

Out of the 150 applications received, the 12 finalists are said to have "best reflected the Olympic values at the heart of the programme", which will provide backing for 2,020 entrepreneurs in the run up to the 2020 Games.

As part of the scheme, the 29 entrepreneurs involved in these first 12 projects will receive intensive practical training over the next five months, while implementing their projects through web platforms and mobile applications.

The five app-based start-ups are tourism firm Top Around, restaurants and catering business, fashion company Samsamia, mobility service provider Apparcar and ticketing QhacesHoy.

The remaining seven web-based ventures are education specialist, social network, crowdsourcers 3dPrintMe!, group buying firm DasMenos, energy company Weneru, entrepreneurs site Pathfinder and sport website Zitasport.

"There was a lot of competition among the 150 projects and the quality was very high, which meant there wasn't much difference at all in the final scores," 2020 for 2020 programme director Raúl del Pozo said.

Most of the 12 projects are based in the Madrid area, with five of the entrepreneurs hailing from outside Spain, adding an international dimension to their respective projects.

Alejandro Blanco and Madrid Mayor Ania Botella both hope that hosting the Olympics and Paralympics in the Spanish capital will boost the economyAlejandro Blanco and Madrid Mayor Ana Botella both hope that hosting the Olympics and Paralympics in the Spanish capital will boost the economy

Alejandro Blanco, President of Madrid 2020 and the Spanish Olympic Committee, congratulated the finalists and likened the selection process to a sports fixture.

"Numerous participants set out on this journey but only a few made it through to the final stage," he explained.

"But unlike sport, in which there can only be one definite winner, here there are 12.

"Without idealism, you can't have optimism or sense of the future or a vision for the future.

"Your ideal is to imagine a project and see it through to fruition not just as a career path but as a way of life."

Madrid's 2020 for 2020 initiative was developed to demonstrate that hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games could help to repair the damage caused by Spain's well-documented economic crisis of recent years.

Madrid 2020 claims that 500 new businesses could be created as part of the Games project, with grants of €10,000 (£8,700/$13,000), office space and commercial support on offer.

Madrid are currently in a bidding race to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics alongside Tokyo and Istanbul.

The announcement on which city will host the Games is due to be made at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires on September 7 this year.

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