Catalan Programmes for the Seven Strategic Industrial Sectors 2015-2020

The Government of Catalonia has presented its Programmes for the Seven Strategic Industrial Sectors, consisting of 158 specific actions for 2015-2020. The main objective is to increase industrial activity to 25% of the Catalan GDP by 2020 and to further specialisation in the different industrial sectors present in Catalonia. These programs are aligned with the EU’s industrial strategy, known as RIS3, and aim to promote Catalonia as a significant industrial hub in mainland Europe.


The Programmes focus on SMEs in Catalonia and over 300 Catalan companies have participated in their elaboration, offering their expertise and experience in specific areas. Plans have been distributed into seven industrial fields; all of which focus on internationalisation, innovation and business collaboration. 

The working methodology consisted of elaborating a map for each area, the detection of global trends in every hub, the identification of winning strategies to face those trends, the creation of steering committees and the design of action plans for each area. 

The identification of the seven main industrial fields took into consideration those aspects where the Catalan economy offers more competitive advantages: critical mass, demand-pull capacity, growth potential, new economic activity creation capacity, internationalisation and cooperation between quadruple helix model participants.

Main actions in each of the seven industrial sectors

  • Food Industries
  • Chemical, Energy and Resources Industries
  • Industrial Systems
  • Design Industries
  • Sustainable Mobility Industries
  • Health and Life Sciences Industries
  • Cultural and Experience-based Industries

Food Industries

In the context of this field, this year will see the development of the Catalonia Food Network, a platform to unify the sector and to boost its international promotion. The Catalan Government also aims, among other actions, to encourage food-related tourism, so it will work closely with tourism offices. There are over 2,500 companies working in the food industry in Catalonia with a total turnover of €24 bn.


  • The XXI century consumer shows new pricing, quality and functional preferences.
  • As consequence of the search for increased value for money, private-label product consumption increases.
  • New saving methods are reducing consumption away from home, which modifies consumption structure.
  • Low-cost models are growing in away-from home food consumption.
  • Distribution chains aim for differentiation.


  • To implement a platform that raises the profile of the sector as a whole. 
  • To achieve increasing product differentiation (personalized diet, new generation of dishes, healthy eating, etc.) 
  • To guarantee operational excellence and food safety. 
  • To improve ties with end-consumers and to ensure product differentiation.

Chemical, Energy and Resources Industries

This sector brings together chemical, energy, water and materials, which offer a €27 bn turnover. The Government now aims to promote Catalonia as the main Southern European chemical hub by intensifying foreign investment and boosting the green and circular economy. The possibility to establish a bio-refinery pilot plant is also under study.


  • In Chemical Industries, increase in energy costs, atomized sector and increasing supply/demand for green chemistry.
  • In Energy, awareness of responsible energy consumption, decrease in energy market registration, constant evolution of legal framework and innovation implementation in Barcelona (smart city).
  • In Water, skilful management due to climate change, new technology development, awareness on consumption reduction and holistic approach in the water cycle.
  • In Waste, high installed capacity, competitive companies, efficiency in local waste management and great variety of waste to collect and treat.


  • To make use of knowledge and experience in managing resources, energy and chemicals with a view to boosting the internationalisation of Catalan business and inward investment in Catalonia. 
  • To promote the integration of more competitive resource management solutions in the sectors in which they are most intensively used. 
  • To make Catalonia a global benchmark region in the development and implementation of smart solutions for the management of urban, industrial and agricultural environments. 
  • To encourage cooperation between industry and the R&D&I system and to attract talent. 
  • To position industry within the concept of green and circular economics. To promote a positive image of industry associated with the chemicals, energy and resources sector as creator of value.

Industrial Systems

This field comprises all companies providing production processes (components, systems and capital goods) for other manufacturing enterprises. Industrial actions for this sector focus on its internationalisation and the creation of an Advanced Materials Cluster, among other actions. Around 70,000 workers and €10 bn turnover per year make up the industrial systems industry.


  • Increasingly more global value chains in the manufacture of industrial systems.
  • Society and policy is more aware of sustainability.
  • Acceleration of the life cycle of industrial systems. 


  • To achieve higher levels of internationalisation. 
  • To strengthen the management of companies in order to increase their size, improve their commercial capacities and to strengthen them by providing suitable training. 
  • To incorporate technology and innovation as a key factor of competitiveness and strategy, together with the renewal of industrial machinery. 
  • To improve the environment and adapt the sector’s structure in order to encourage the competitiveness and sustainability of industrial systems, to improve public perception, to enhance its value and to promote industrial culture and vocations.

Design Industries

Representing the fashion and habitat sectors, the design industries move over 6,500 companies and €17.8 bn per year. The BCN Style Network will be created as a platform to promote the production capacity of Catalan fashion, aimed at boosting relocation in Catalonia.


  • There’s a change in final consumer preferences.
  • Therefore, there is a decrease in the market in Spain.
  • In relation to the previous point, imports from low-cost countries are significant, although there is some industrial relocation.
  • Concentration of distribution channels.
  • Expansion of on-line and fashion markets.


  • Expansion of contract market in the habitat sector.
  • Expansion of international contract market and of the private segment.
  • Transformation of contract market sales criteria.
  • Change of agent roles through the decision/sales process


  • To create synergies between the fashion and habitat industries as the design industries. 
  • To promote design as a competitive strategy, incorporate major global trends and ecodesign, and create an active network of national and international talent.
  • Adaptation to customer tastes through personalised, quickly developed products, both by producers (components specialists, production managers, etc.) and in sales to chains, large service buildings, etc. in habitat. 
  • To develop new brand and distribution models with a view, as regards to habitat, to establishing contact with new contract channel partners and top-level influencers such as architects.

Sustainable Mobility Industries

The main actions in this field aim to create a consortium to manufacture electric motorcycles in Catalonia and to boost the rail transport of the products in this sector. The sustainable mobility industry shows a turnover of €42bn per year and employs 188,000 workers.


  • Consumers and policy are increasingly more sensitive towards transport system sustainability.
  • Transformation of consumer and user behaviour towards mobility.
  • Increase in mobile technology usage and performance.
  • More intense competition in the automotive sector.


  • To strengthen the competitiveness of the automobile and the motorcycle industry. 
  • To create and adapt personalised mobility solutions to end-users. 
  • To create more efficient urban logistics solutions. 
  • To develop the electric vehicle and connected vehicle industries. 
  • To build infrastructures adapted to emerging mobility with flexible regulations and advanced industry. 
  • To make the most of Barcelona’s status as Mobile World Capital, and Smart City Expo World Congress

Health and Life Sciences Industries

A bioinformatics platform to manage big data is due to be created, along with the Barcelona Clinical Trials Platform to attract international first level research projects. Among other actions, the Catalan Government wants to establish an award to recognise the work of innovative SMEs. This is one of the main sectors in Catalonia, with 78,000 employees and a €20 bn turnover per year.


  • Ageing population and increase in chronic patients.
  • New client/patient preferences.
  • Transformation of health services demand.
  • Fast development of ICT applied to health sector.
  • Shortening of technological product life cycle.
  • Increase of health expenditure.
  • Fast development of biotechnology and advanced therapies.


  • Development of own products by companies with a view to establishing internationalisation processes. 
  • To empower the health tourism market. 
  • To strengthen ties between the research of science parks and companies and therefore improve the process of translational transfer of technology and of knowledge. 
  • To work in the area of personalised medicine. 
  • To specialise in competitive sectors such as ICT, e-Health, MedTech and nanotechnology and to promote synergies amongst them. 
  • To seek specific selective financing through private funds and mentoring.

Cultural and Experience-based Industries

Comprising all sorts of economic activity related to culture, communication, tourism, sport and functional creativity, this field shows a turnover of €224 bn per year and employs 300,000 people. The creation of the Experience Network will promote the development of joint projects and of integrated events. A T-Experience card will bring cultural, touristic and sportive activities together.


  • High level of offer in the sector, with a constant renovation of products and winner-take-all success strategies.
  • Increasing number of users, practitioners, fans and consumers of cultural and experience-based products. Also, the user often creates content.
  • Emergence and growth of new digital intermediation channels that transform value chains and traditional business models.
  • As a consequence of the previous point, there is decreasing relevance of the value of informative, cultural and experience-based content.
  • Improvement in ICT and transport technology rapidly boosts the cultural and experience-based industries internationalization process.
  • New innovation opportunities.
  • Growing market segmentation and reduction of product life cycles.
  • Due to an increasing supply, there is an improvement of the brand image value, the product design and social communication to gain positioning in the market and create trust.


  • To promote investment in the production of cultural, information, and creative contents and experiences that strengthen the country’s business fabric and help to focus on success in national and global markets. 
  • To encourage dissemination and marketing initiatives that make use of the new communication potential of social networks and give consumers/users a more active role. 
  • To adapt supply and demand to new digital intermediation channels. 
  • To explore all current and future opportunities for monetising access to contents and experiences. 
  • To internationalise the cultural and experience-based industries according to geographical priorities and to the strategies best suited to each sub-sector. 
  • To innovate in the development of new formats of cultural, creative and experiences products (good or service), and in their respective business models. 
  • To promote functional creative services in companies and institutions to improve company competitiveness.

These seven sectors emerge from the Government of Catalonia’s new industrial strategy, the aim of which is to ensure that the industrial sectors account for 25% of the GDP of Catalonia by 2020. The Government is committed to an industry that is more innovative, more talent-intensive, and firmly established in the global economy. 

The programmes are intended to offer society a strategic agenda with which to work and strengthen the competitive position of the sectors in which Catalonia wants focus its industrial growth. The Programmes are also designed to encourage better coordination of traditional, horizontal lines of work in industrial policy: innovation policy, internationalisation policy, cluster policy and reactivation policy, which are covered by the programmes for business growth, for entrepreneurship and the SME service. 

This new industrial strategy for Catalonia has three main features: a sector-specific orientation: based on the seven sectors that Catalonia has defined as priorities; the involment of a large number of governmental areas and not just one ministry; and its public drive with private leadership. While industrial policy is the responsibility of the Government, the country’s industrialisation depends on the effort made by private-sector companies. This strategy is therefore only meaningful if it facilitates and supports initiatives by companies.

With this strategy, the Government of Catalonia aims to make industry the motor of our economic activity.

Main actions have been planned in seven industrial sectors: food industries; chemical, energy and resources industries; industrial systems; design industries; sustainable mobility industries; health and life sciences industries; and cultural and experience-based industries.

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