Catalonia and Flanders sign an agreement to promote startup ecosystems in both regions

Catalan Economy

15 Feb 2024

The agreement aims to connect startups from both ecosystems for investment search or trade missions.

The Government of Catalonia, through ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment -the agency for the competitiveness of the company of the Department of Business and Labour- has signed an agreement with the Flanders Investment & Trade agency (FIT) to promote entrepreneurial and startup ecosystems in Catalonia and Flanders. The agreement was signed this Thursday by the Secretary of Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, Albert Castellanos, and by the COO of Flanders Investment & Trade, Piet Demunter.

This initiative aims to strengthen the link between the startup ecosystems of Catalonia and Flanders, offering the willingness of both agencies to cooperate in sharing relevant information for their promotion. This way, ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment and the FIT are committed to exchanging relevant information in economic, trade, and investment terms that refer to startups.

“Together, Catalan and Flemish startups can benefit from each other's networks, resources, and experience to reach new horizons in a constantly evolving business landscape.”

Piet Demunter, COO of Flanders Investment & Trade

At the same time, they also propose to cooperate for two years -extendable for two more years- in promoting the respective local startups by facilitating the connection between companies, agents, and investors of the two ecosystems.

Castellanos stated, "The startup ecosystem in Flanders has outstanding elements, such as a high commitment to investing in R&D or deep tech applications, elements that we also want to grow in Catalonia". In this sense, he emphasized that "opening a clear and direct collaboration path with this territory will allow us to grow together and improve the quality of both ecosystems".

On the other hand, the COO of Flanders Investment & Trade, Piet Demunter, assured that "it is not only about exchanging ideas but also about creating a culture of cooperation where different strengths come together to overcome challenges and take advantage of opportunities". In this sense, he added, "Together, Catalan and Flemish startups can benefit from each other's networks, resources, and experience to reach new horizons in a constantly evolving business landscape".

At the same event, Flanders Investment & Trade also signed a cooperation agreement with Tech Barcelona to promote technological innovation between the two ecosystems. According to Miquel Martí, CEO of Tech Barcelona, "Flanders is a European reference in innovation, both at the level of academia and technology companies. For an association like Tech Barcelona, it is essential to strengthen links and connections with similar European areas".

The Catalan startup ecosystem is on the rise

This agreement takes place one week after the presentation of the study that analyses the Catalan startup ecosystem 2023, prepared by ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment. This report shows that Catalonia reached 2,102 startups in 2023, the highest figure in the historical series, starting in 2016. In addition, for the first time, the number of startups in Catalonia has exceeded the figure of 20,000 workers (20,665, specifically), and of the 2,000 million euros in turnover, it reached 2,112 million euros.

From Catalonia Trade & Investment's office in Brussels, you get tailor-made information and full support for a smooth, fast, and successful set-up of operations in Barcelona-Catalonia (Southern Europe) from start to finish. Contact our office in Brussels if you need more information or further assistance to connect with Barcelona-Catalonia's industrial and economic ecosystem.

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