Starting a company is a huge undertaking. The thrill of being at the wheel of something that could take off at any moment is counterbalanced by the fear of it suddenly crashing and burning. There’s a lot to think about: how to turn a good idea into reality; how to make a business plan; how to engage with a target audience; where to get funding, and so on. Most entrepreneurs have countless questions of this sort whose responses can make or break their business. Accessing the right answers might be the rocketpad you needed to launch your business sky-high; receiving the wrong ones – or no answers at all – could well have the opposite effect.
Even the most successful startups needed a boost at the beginning of their journey. That’s why services like Xarxa Emprèn are invaluable to them.
What is Xarxa Emprèn?
Xarxa Emprèn (roughly translated to The Lift-Off Network in English) is a public/private entity that provides services and support to entrepreneurs in Catalonia during their first three years of business. With wide-reaching expertise and comprehensive knowledge of the region’s business landscape, Xarxa Emprèn acts as a mentor and guide for new companies. It is part of the Catalunya Emprèn program, created and managed by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia).
Since its launch in 2013, more than 45,000 people have used Xarxa Emprèn’s services. With close connections with over 150 entities and 500 technical experts from a wide range of sectors, they have supported the creation of more than 4,500 companies. Founded upon a long tradition of supporting entrepreneurship in the region, they are now a key driver of startup success in today’s Catalonia.
What kinds of services do they offer?
For any entrepreneur starting a business in Catalonia, getting to grips with different local, regional and national bureaucratic systems and services can be tricky. Through their large network of support entities, Xarxa Emprèn offers new businesses general information, guidance, advice, training and consolidation to help them navigate these systems and professionalize their organization from day one. Through Xarxa Emprèn, startup founders can be directed to social initiatives, local advisory bodies and legal entities that can assist in the creation of their new business, ensuring a solid foundational start.
Xarxa Emprèn can provide specific guidance on the procedures to start a business. From detailed information about how to access funding, to digital literacy training, to advice on ICT business projects, coworkings, business nurseries, business transfer services and second-chance services, they’ve got all bases covered.
For those wanting to access these services, the Entity Finder is a brilliant tool – it zeroes in on useful entities based on proximity to the user and the specific type of support they need for their startup. Entrepreneurs can then filter the different services offered by each entity through the search criterion ‘Types of Services’. More information of each service is then available through the ‘Services of the Network’ section.
Catalunya Emprèn Programs
Catalunya Emprèn develops and produces a diverse range of programs to promote and cultivate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Catalonia.
The iFest is a celebration of modern innovation, science and technology, aimed at those who represent the future. From school seniors to bachelors, masters and doctorate students, attendees take part in workshops and virtual exhibitions to discover disruptive technologies and find out about their place in the future of an ever-changing world.
Programa Primer (Pre-Acceleration Program)
The Programa Primer aims to promote localized entrepreneurship. Their aim is to highlight the importance of collaboration between startups and local entities and to promote public activities within the region. The program also looks to emphasize the importance of promoting technological hubs within Catalonia, such as Barcelona and other cities.
Barcelona Startup City Seminar
The Barcelona Startup City Seminar presents an overview and celebrates the potential of Barcelona’s startup ecosystem. More than 50 people from the best universities, coworking spaces, research centers, ‘fab labs’ and other institutions from the Catalan capital are selected to attend the event. Through roundtables and discussions, participants analyze the current business landscape in Barcelona and speculate on its future; entrepreneurship promotion programs and inspiration for new startups are also presented and discussed.
Catalunya Emprèn also organizes international seminars, where entrepreneurs can learn lessons from the world’s most dynamic startup ecosystems.
This year, the Boston Innovation Ecosystem Seminar gave an insight into the city’s startup scene and the key to its success, consisting of four days of lectures, panel discussions and visits to landmark areas of the Boston startup scene. Named the best city in the US to encourage business growth by the Chamber of Commerce, Boston has seen its technology and business graduates contribute to technological development not only a local but also on a global scale. Such graduates have created some of the world’s best known tech companies and provided improvements to existing giants such as Google, IBM, Facebook, Amazon and Uber, among others.
The Amsterdam Tech Talent & Ecosystem Seminar and the Israel innovation ecosystem were two other international events organised by Catalunya Emprèn that captured the energy of a thriving international startup ecosystem. This seminar included lectures, round tables and exhibitions from some of the biggest startups in Amsterdam. Attendees visited the Dutch capital’s key tech spots, such as ScaleUpNation, Zoku and TQ, as well as attending the TNW Conference, one of Europe’s leading tech festivals with over 17,500 participants every year.
Xarxa Emprèn’s Resources
Xarxa Emprèn’s offer many different resources to entrepreneurs looking to create their own startups.
They understand the importance of entrepreneurial skills and abilities, as well as the kind of mindset startup founders need in order to succeed in a modern business environment. To assist with this, Xarxa Emprèn have built connections with local organizations that can help startup founders to build their entrepreneurial profiles.
Xarxa Emprèn also help to evaluate and improve business ideas. With their online tool Test IDEA, they help entrepreneurs reflect on their proposal and analyze its potential future development. Users can identify the main strengths and weaknesses of their proposal via this tool, giving them the chance to adapt and improve their idea with fresh eyes, so that it is more likely to be successful in the long-run.
They also provide expert guidance on the fundamental elements needed to start a successful business, teaching startups how to: create a detailed business plan; secure funding, grants and subsidies; foster creativity; keep innovating; develop a marketing strategy; and effectively manage a business.
Other Services Xarxa Emprèn Offers
Xarxa Emprèn’s website has up-to-date news on all the hot topics in Catalan business, as well as articles about entrepreneurship competitions and grants awarded. They also feature a schedule of upcoming events, seminars and training for entrepreneurs.
Their in-depth catalog of organizations, from governing bodies and business entities to social initiatives and advisory groups, gives entrepreneurs access to a wide range of useful resources. Xarxa Emprèn’s monthly newsletter also keeps subscribers in the loop with the latest news, events and changes in the Catalan startup ecosystem.
For any entrepreneurs entering the startup ecosystem in Catalonia, making use of Xarxa Emprèn’s services is a must. With a seemingly endless array of connections, in-depth knowledge of the local administrative system and experience with securing financing, Xarxa Emprèn offers a beacon of reassurance and guidance within a sea of complexity.
If you’re an entrepreneur in Catalonia looking for business guidance, advice and information, look no further than Xarxa Emprèn!