Barcelona consolidates its position as 2nd preferred location for startups in the European Union

Catalan Economy · Business Investments

21 Aug 2023

According to the Startup Heatmap Europe 2023, the Catalan capital has been ranked for the sixth consecutive year only behind Berlin and ahead of Amsterdam, Paris, and Lisbon.

Barcelona has consolidated its position as the second most preferred hub in the European Union for startup founders for the sixth consecutive year, according to the Startup Heatmap Europe 2023. The study concluded that 17.1% of European entrepreneurs would choose the Catalan capital to launch their project, placing Barcelona just behind Berlin and ahead of cities such as Amsterdam, Paris, and Lisbon.

According to the Secretary of Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, Albert Castellanos, "Barcelona's position in this ranking reinforces the great potential of the Catalan startup ecosystem: the best technological talent continues to prefer Barcelona as one of the best cities to grow business projects." "Startups play a key role in attracting foreign investment, creating quality jobs, and positioning ourselves as a country committed to innovation and technology," said ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment CEO.

“The best technological talent continues to prefer Barcelona as one of the best cities to grow business projects.”

Albert Castellanos, Secretary of Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment

Since 2016, Startup Heatmap Europe has analyzed the 50 most attractive cities in Europe to create a startup based on the founders' preferences, who can choose three European cities from a list of more than 200 cities with more than 250,000 inhabitants. The report also analyzes trends in European ecosystems and whether they are open and sustainable.

Barcelona and Catalonia, a leading startup ecosystem

According to the study "Analysis of the startup ecosystem in Catalonia 2022" prepared by ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, Catalonia currently has over 2,000 startups that generate more than 19,100 jobs and attracted 1,653 million euros of investment in 2022, the highest figure ever recorded.

The study also shows that the number of startups has increased by 6.3% compared to 2021 and 86% compared to 2016, from 1,086 to more than 2,000. Together, they will have a turnover of 1,720 million euros.

From a sectoral point of view, Catalan startups are mainly dedicated to health (16%), business services and software (12%), ICT and mobile (6%), food (5%), and finance (5%). The same study shows that Catalan startups have grown in size in recent years: currently, 76% of companies have less than ten employees, while in 2019, before the pandemic, this percentage was 87%.

The study is based on data from the digital platform Barcelona & Catalonia Startup Hub, a directory created by ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment in 2016 that collects emerging companies with a maximum of 10 years of life, technological, with scalable business models, repeatable and applicable in global environments and oriented to rapid growth.

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