Barcelona’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is growing, and it’s growing fast. The city attracts talent from all over the world and new accelerator-programs and investment vehicles are popping up all over the city.
Barcelona is home to some of Europe’s best business schools and graduate hundreds of talented professionals each year. The city also hosts a growing number of innovative startups, and more are being launched in record numbers. Unfortunately, this is not the whole story when it comes to Barcelona talent.
Many of the talented professionals that want to stay end up leaving the country after graduation, and many startups move their headquarters away from Barcelona after launching and growing in the city for years.
Hard to find good jobs
“It’s hard to find a good interesting job straight after university, and young talents graduating from one of Barcelonas great business schools, will have a better chance landing a job and get a higher salary outside of Spain”, he tells Barcinno.
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Entrepreneur and angel investor Carlos Blanco is one of the best known figures in the Spanish startup ecosystem. He thinks the reason for why many leave after studying is easier.
“We need to consider that a lot of students come to Barcelona only to study. They know they will leave after graduating. If there is a reason, it has to be that Spain doesn’t have a special visa that allows people outside the European Union to stay for longer”, Blanco explains.
“Barcelona, and Spain in general, is a great place to launch your startup because of the growing startup ecosystem, you can hire cheap talented people and the city itself is attracting to most. One thing we have seen is that expats and startups stay for five years, and then leave because of after five years the special Beckham tax regime ends. This mean higher income tax for entrepreneurs and tax on wealth”, he tells Barcinno.
Blanco thinks that Barcelona and Spain is a great place for startups to grow big, and name examples as Trovit, Privalia and Social Point. However he explains that the exit culture could be better.
“We don’t have a clear exit culture and it usually foreign people who buy our startups”
Thousands of reasons to stay
As we have tried to express through this article, the future for startups in Barcelona is brighter than ever, but it’s good to air some of the challenges we still have to resolve.
Apple says both he and Typeform plans to stay in Barcelona.
“As many in Barcelona, we only hire top talent. As a result, it creates an atmosphere where everyone is really good at what they do. A-players like to work with other A-players”, Apple explains on how they get to have so many international profiles at Typeform.
Brinckmann at ESADE which has experience from the US and Germany, say that the Spanish startup-ecosystem is unique.
“It is a very friendly environment for entrepreneurs, an example is that established startups help out 2. generation startups, it’s a great environment to be a part of, he says.
Blanco is proud of representing Barcelona on a global startup-scene.
“Every day we have more accelerators, better VC’s, professionalized universities and schools and more incubators. Our network is in constant growth and we have to be proud of it”