So much has been said about who is going to take the crown of the European startup capital list after London’s unexpected #Brexit. Top hubs like Berlin, Dublin and Amsterdam are vying for first place as the European startup leader, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility for Barcelona to step up and attract the lion share of Brexiting companies.
Within hours of the referendum results, international companies with their European HQs in London were already signaling ao move out of the UK in the next couple of years due to the disruption of the free movement of people and the problems of exporting goods to the rest of EU.
Consultant René Buck told the DutchNews that a large portion of US companies now want to shift their activities somewhere else: “Companies want to make plans now, they can’t sit and wait for two years while the European Union and the United Kingdom arrange their divorce.”
The same will happen with other international companies. The last thing global markets and investors want is more uncertainty. The faster the moves are made and new European headquarters established, the
better off these companies will be in the long-run.
Much of the local media coverage has focused on the complications and difficulties that Spain and Barcelona will face once the UK leaves the EU. However, the startup and tech industry in Barcelona could benefit greatly from the UK and EU divorce and play a leading role in attracting foreign investment, jobs and talent. The reason is simple: Barcelona’s weather, low cost of living, infrastructure, local markets and relationship with Latin America could make it the front runner as a European Startup Leader.
Don’t forget: If Smart Cities Had IQ’s, Barcelona Would Be A Genius
Ok, we know, it won’t be an easy task but let’s face it, who wants to go down without a fight? Barcelona has strong competition with Berlin being a strong hub of different markets and ruling the EU; Dublin offering strong tax incentives and Amsterdam offering their position and their strong economy.
But what they don’t know is that we have all it takes to make a healthy and thriving startup ecosystem: we have the stakeholders, the entrepreneurs, the startups, the investors. We might be lacking some exits and venture capital firms, but according to the Spanish Association For Business Angels (AEBAN) and IESE business school there is an increase in the number of business angels in Spain and this group of people that brings life to the startup ecosystem in Barcelona and Spain will only grow bigger.
Hey, we might be the underdog for some business leaders and media tech policy makers, but if we do things right – if the government gets their act together, creates a more friendly business environment, gives the entrepreneurs some tax breaks and seizes the opportunity – we could improve our economic condition and become the number one leader in the European tech ecosystem.
Could this be a reality or just an optimistic dream? We have at least two years to see if Barcelona will be the place for more tech companies to grow, but we are definitely on the right path to something big. What do you guys think?
Also Read: Explosion In New Spanish Business Angels
Two words: tax regime
Honestly I don’t know how corporate and personal taxes work in Spain/Barcelona yet, let alone how Barcelona compares to its EU counterparts. What I know is that tax considerations are a fundamental driver for relocation decisions (on par with quality of infrastructures, for which Barcelona is ok).