Catalonia is a land of ideas that never fails to surprise

Catalans like ideas in a whole range of different fields: business, culture, sport, cuisine, or science. And they also like putting them into practice and are pretty good at making them successful.

Catalonia is a magnet for multilingual and skilled professionals in a huge variety of creative fields. In fact, Barcelona is the 4th European city in creative and knowledge-based jobs (Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor, 2019).

The best place to kick-start your start-up

With startups being one of the strongest employment and income creators in Europe, Barcelona is the 5th Startup Hub in Europe, together with London, Paris, Berlin, and Amsterdam.

The Barcelona & Catalonia Startup Hub 2019 report lists Barcelona as the 3rd most popular city among startup founders in Europe. Furthermore, the Catalan capital ranks extremely well in terms of the cost of living and the best location for office space costs.

Startups have a real impact

The startup economy in Catalonia is comprised of 1,700 startups that employ some 17,500 people. Barcelona has become a clear benchmark in Europe in the creation of new companies, especially those with a technological base.

This growth is the result of different factors such as local infrastructures, private support programmes and services for entrepreneurship, successful entrepreneurs that have helped to create networks of incubators, accelerators, and investment vehicles that safeguard the new companies, and the presence of internationally renowned trade fairs such as the Mobile World Congress, 4YFN, Smart City Expo, IOT and NiceOne Barcelona.

The numbers show that over the last 5 years (2015-2019), the region has attracted 2,800 million euros of private investment. Moreover, Barcelona is the 5th European tech hub by volume of investment.

Big on Design

Constantly taking a fresh look at things is a national trait. Proof of this is the over 50 design schools in Catalonia, training some 6,000 professionals a year.

Over the years, these professionals have built close links to sectors such as technology, communications, culture and the economy, whilst defining a flourishing local design culture in fields such as graphic design, industrial design, retail, architecture and fashion.

And due to this active design ecosystem, international companies have chosen Catalonia to locate their top strategic design centres.

Some examples of events, schools and institutions working in creativity and design are, among others:

  • Escac, one of the best cinema and audiovisual schools in the world
  • Loop, an international community of artists exploring the possibilities of video and film in contemporary art
  • Sónar, and international festival of advanced music and technology
  • Disseny Hub Bcn, an innovative and experimental municipal facility to foster knowledge economy, creativity and innovation
  • 080 Barcelona Fashion, a platform to raise the profile of fashion designers
  • Fadfest, to act as a catalyst for innovation organized by Fad (Fostering Arts and Design)
  • Barcelona Design Centre cluster brings together companies from the Catalan design centre
  • Elisava, one of the most important schools of design and engineering in Europe

When you start, it’s good to have some help

Catalonia offers incubators & accelerators and ample funding opportunities for start-up companies: from business angels, equity crowdfunding, and pledge fund to participatory loans or venture capital. Barcelona’s status as the Mobile World Capital also has put it on the global technology map and means increased interest from VC firms who use events such as the Mobile World Congress or 4YFN to search for investment opportunities.

Richard Florida

With its strengths in industrial design, fashion and technology, Barcelona is well positioned for growth in the Creative Age.