A few years ago, Barcelona was considered a good city for consulting companies because it was where they could provide keen solutions to their customers. These solutions were created and developed by high quality professionals within companies with short budgets. More recently, entrepreneurship in Barcelona has come to life and everything has changed.
Barcelona is no longer a city limited for those consulting companies: it has a new air of technology investment. In effect, Barcelona is boosting local and foreign entrepreneurs, becoming one of the main hubs for startups in Europe. It’s clear the city aims to be a direct competitor to the likes of Berlin, Amsterdam and even London.
People are investing and bringing their ideas to be developed in Barcelona. As an example, according to the “Asociación Española de Capital Crecimiento e Inversión” (ASCRI), Barcelona has listed 745 investment operations between 2013 (371) and 2014 (374). Likewise, during 2015, Barcelona has registered 502 operations generating an investment of 371 million EUR.
Due to the continuous growth and the attraction of foreign investment, among other things, Barcelona has become the capital of international congresses such as the Mobile World Congress. Events like MWC bring new investment to the city while reflecting the potentiality that Barcelona has to foreign eyes.
SOME EXAMPLES OF BARCELONA AS A HUB
- Barcelona leads startups investments, having the highest European growth rate.
- 22@ in Barcelona counts with over 8,000 companies with more than 93,000 employees.
- Companies in the city have registered a turnover of approximately 10,300 million EUR (USD 11,343 million).
- Between 2003 and 2013, 20% of all FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) projects came from the U.S. The percentage represented 11% of the total capital invested.
- Estimations has showed that FDI has created over 87,500 jobs in Catalonia during the last ten years.
- Barcelona ranks third in Europe among cities where FDI created most jobs.
- Barcelona is the top non-native English speaking city in Europe, it raises most FDI.
- Quality of life, brand awareness, labor costs and strategic geolocation. These are the main reasons that attract FDI to Barcelona.
- Nowadays, Barcelona has the most important conference focused on Smart Cities, the Smart City Expo World Congress. Barcelona was the genesis of the City Protocol by creating an international common exchange system of smart cities data.
- Barcelona Tech City is a place created for startups companies. It is allocated near to the beach and offers a great sort of benefits for those within.
“It is not a fairy tale; we should think about the future”
The future will show us a new problem, though. That’s if during this continuous and exponential growth, we don’t take some actions. At some point, startups won’t find the professionals they are looking for, as their demands will be higher than the number of individuals within the sector.
For example, in the last two years, startups companies have almost triplicated the number of employments to be covered from 6.000 to 15.000. In addition, in Barcelona the IT sector is one of the few areas that has the lowest unemployment rates with over 95% of employment. Therefore, do we actually believe that there are enough professionals in order to maintain this rate?
What can we do to change the situation?
There is some people who say that Barcelona should try to be more attractive for foreigner professionals in terms of salary rates. Well, I agree! Barcelona cannot be considered as a sunny and fun city only. Nonetheless, the solution of higher salaries comes with a problem. Most of the foreign companies investing in Barcelona do it in order to decrease theirs expenses. Hence, if the salaries substantially increase, the impact on the companies’ budgets will not be as favorable as desired.
But let’s be clear. Do we actually want that kind of companies investing in Barcelona? Or instead, do we want companies that will invest in Barcelona for the quality of its professionals? I believe that the main solution has to be a short and easy way to prepare people for the technical roles. So far, there are some good options such as online courses, boot camps, or others alternatives for the computer science degree. Alternatives and options that unfortunately do not count with the city sponsorship, but should. We should encourage people to learn how to code and help them.
That being said, what do you think about Barcelona? Could you provide or think on a feasible solution? Feel free to share your comments…