A glance at Spain's booming startup ecosystem

  • startup in Spain
Published last year

Spain's pleasant climate, relaxed lifestyle among friendly people, international community, and access to talent are some of the factors that have been attracting foreign entrepreneurs to the country. If you're looking for new business opportunities abroad, Expat.com gives you some good reasons to launch your start up in Spain.

A fast growing economy

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Spain has been severely affected by the recession in 2008. However, its economy is recovering rapidly, and Spain can now boast about achieving a 3% growth rate in 2017. The country owes its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of EUR 1113.8 billion in 2016 to significant efforts made by the government even though the public debt remains quite high and the unemployment rate is currently at 17%. In spite of all this, Spain shines as one of the main industrial economies of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and one of Europe's economic powerhouses. Its dynamism has thus been attracting entrepreneurs from all around the world.

Barcelona, for instance, needs no introduction to national and international markets thanks to its strategic location. While tourism is its main economic pillar, business and investment prospects exist in other sectors such as real estate, information and communication technology, logistics, design, food and renewable energies and environment. Similarly, many major Spanish cities provide a great infrastructure for startups.

Innovation at the heart of success

Madrid, Spain

The Spanish innovation ecosystem has demonstrated significant progress over the past years. Besides incubators and acceleration programs, the country also provides many facilities such as temporary offices and coworking spaces of which foreign entrepreneurs can take advantage.

Like Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, and Bilbao have become the biggest Spanish innovation hubs with a special focus on industry, agro-industry, fashion, and tourism. Fintech, fashion tech, travel tech, and gastronomy are other promising sectors. Spain also has a broad sharing culture, which has inspired startups to develop services that resale tickets (football matches, concerts, etc.), connect the tourists with the locals, and more.

Barcelona remains the country's main industrial hub with a more developed market, especially since the 22@ renewal project has been completed. Other cities have been giving a more significant importance to environmental technologies and the smart cities concept. While Madrid specialises in software, e-commerce, and fintech, Valencia remains closely linked to industry. Initially an industrial port, Bilbao has recently been focusing on media and industries of the future.

Lately, Spanish authorities have been emphasizing on the importance of fostering interaction among these different hubs. It's worth noting that the Mobile World Congress, the world's biggest mobile technology fair, and other similar events, are held every year in Spain. Let us also remind you that Barcelona ranks among Europe's and the world's most dynamic cities to launch a startup in terms of innovation and creativity.

Flexible policies and incentives

Spanish government

Besides its strategic location and pleasant climate, Spain also provides the ideal startup ecosystem thanks to its political stability and development opportunities. Being part of the European Union, Spain is known for simple formalities to set up a business and lower transaction costs. Labour costs are also lower due to the high unemployment rate – especially among the younger generation – which greatly eases access to talent.

During the past few years, the Spanish government has introduced a series of flexible policies and investment incentives to attract more foreign entrepreneurs. These include preferential access to credit under certain conditions, professional training for entrepreneurs, etc.. Newly launched startups in Spain can also benefit from a 15% corporate tax.

A pleasant and affordable lifestyle

Beaches in Spain

Obviously, once you have moved to Spain, you will focus on developing your business above all. At the same time, what could be better than laying the foundation for your future in a pleasant and dynamic environment within the harmonious blend of a history and culture with a developed infrastructure and abundant opportunities?

Between splendid beaches, impressive mountains, and traditional architecture, Spain offers a unique atmosphere in a mild climate with the sun shining all year around. Expatriates in Spain agree that the country provides not only quality of life but also a more affordable cost of living compared to other European countries. Entrepreneurs and employees are also eligible for tax benefits.

By setting up your business in Spain, you will also benefit from its openness to the rest of the world, not to mention a qualified and skilled workforce. Also, there are so many things to see and to do in Spain during your free time, ranging from cultural, arts, and sports activities to its tasty cuisine that it's unlikely you won't find the right balance between work and personal life.