Catalonia is the ICT hub Europe’s modern start-up sector needs

As one of Europe’s leading ICT hubs, Catalonia offers everything the modern technology firm could possibly need

  • By Núria Betriu, CEO, Catalonia Trade & Investment | Friday, May 19th, 2017

Barcelona, and the wider Catalan region, is a hub for tech and ICT companies

Catalonia, with Barcelona playing a key role, has always looked beyond its own borders to build a creative society and to foster a dynamic, entrepreneurial attitude, with innovation as a key driver of progress. Today, more than 7,000 international companies run operations in Catalonia. Together with local firms and tech centres, they create a diverse and dynamic business ecosystem.

ICT, smart activities and mobile innovation play a significant role in Catalan economic vitality. With around 12,800 ICT firms and 84,600 highly skilled workers, the number of ICT companies in Catalonia has been constantly growing since 2008. In fact, from 2010 to 2016, Catalonia has consistently ranked second in southern Europe in terms of FDI projects and job creation in the ICT sector.

Barcelona is the 2012-23 Mobile World Capital, hosting the GSMA Mobile World Congress – the international flagship mobile event – on an annual basis

On the map
Barcelona is the 2012-23 Mobile World Capital, hosting the GSMA Mobile World Congress – the international flagship mobile event – on an annual basis. The city is also the most trusted Internet of Things (IoT) hub in Europe; the IoT Solutions World Congress in the Catalan capital is the sector’s leading industry event. Barcelona is also the world’s second smart city (after Singapore) and hosts the Smart City Expo World Congress – the top global smart cities event.

This technological prowess is being harnessed by a range of businesses. In the smart technology industry, top companies such as Oracle and Seat (part of the Volkswagen Group) are implementing Industry 4.0 solutions in Barcelona. In the 3D printing sphere, HP’s largest facilities outside the US are in Catalonia. In terms of smart cars, the Catalan ecosystem is home to numerous testing centres and industry hubs. In the big data sector, Catalonia is a leading European player, with Barcelona’s Big Data Centre of Excellence offering support and expertise to companies.

Robotics, cybersecurity, videogames, drones and e-commerce are all thriving in the region too. What’s more, Catalonia boasts a number of industry-leading ICT transfer centres, including the Eurecat Technology Centre of Catalonia, different research groups in universities such as BarcelonaTech, and scientific and technological infrastructure such as the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre.

Talent attracts talent
With over 1,100 start-ups in the city, Barcelona is one of Europe’s most dynamic business ecosystems, especially in the field of new technologies, which attracts venture capital interest from a range of international investors. Barcelona is Europe’s fifth-largest start-up region, behind London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam, while the CITIE’s 2015 report listed Barcelona as the fourth-best city for digital entrepreneurship.

An outstanding academic system generates top-level talent in engineering and ICT, with Barcelona a competitive city in terms of IT salaries across Europe. Excellent career prospects and attractive business and leisure opportunities attract those skilled professionals from across the world who share Catalan professionals’ talent, commitment, energy, know-how, curiosity and work ethic.

Support structure
Catalonia Trade & Investment is your ideal project manager. With over 30 years’ expertise in international investment, 39 trade and investment offices around the world, and over 5,000 investment projects managed, we offer fully tailored support to set up your ICT business in Catalonia.

Working with your specific business needs in mind, we provide you with all the relevant information on moving or setting up your business in Barcelona, a city that ranks extremely well in terms of living costs and office costs. Furthermore, we help to increase the viability of your ICT projects with expert, in-depth support on financing possibilities and recruitment, as well as information on mobility procedures for executives. Our deep local business knowledge and unique access to key institutional players help ICT companies find technology and business partners, supplier sourcing, and long-term growth support throughout their lifespans.

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