The entrepreneurship ecosystem, specifically for innovation and disruptive business models, is experiencing its best moment to date in Spain. Its vibrant pulse is a reflection of the growth in the creation of startups, a robust cohort of scaleups becoming competitive players domestically and internationally, and an investment environment that supports ever-bigger funding rounds. The new Startups Law passed on December 2022 introduces a new framework of tax and labour incentives conducive to higher investment and talent attraction in emerging technology-based companies in Spain.

Venture capital investment trends

Investment in startups has remained quite robust during 2022 against a very complicated international economic backdrop. The volume of venture capital flowing to startups was the second-highest in the historic data series, and the number of investment operations topped all previous years with a record 424.

Source: Observatorio de startups. Fundación Innovación Bankinter

Advantages to investing in Spain’s

entrepreneurial ecosystem

Access to a domestic market of 46 million people and to the European market with 450 million people.  

Point of entry to the Latin American market for European startups, and to the European market for Latin American startups.

Highly-specialized talent from internationally renowned universities and business schools.

Spanish companies and Spanish society have one of the highest ICT usage and incorporation rates in the world.

A set of leading global multinationals with ambitious open innovation models.

A highly specialized industrial sector throughout Spain, with its own special programmes for startups.

More than 80 science and technology parks.

Events and meetings for  leading global entrepreneurs.

What we can do
for your startup

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the Starting up in Spain Guide

All you need to know about the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Spain.

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Programme

Rising UP in Spain

Rising UP in Spain is a program to help foreign startups set up in Spain, hand in hand with a local partner.

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Booming ecosystem

With approximately 11,000 active startups in 2022, and extraordinary investment numbers, the technology entrepreneurship ecosystem continues to accelerate its growth and strengthen its place among the most important in Europe. A unique feature of the Spanish ecosystem among its European peers is that there are two main hubs, Barcelona and Madrid, among a large group of cities and regions that are successfully fostering technology startups, like Valencia, Bilbao or Malaga, to name just the larger ones. Over 80% of the funds raised by Spanish startups is provided by international investors, mainly in growth funding rounds, a fact that highlights the strong appeal and keen interest in our country´s entrepreneurial ecosystem for foreign capital.

Barcelona and Madrid are among the “Top 6” startup ecosystem capitals in Europe.

Barcelona ranks fifth among the best startup cities in Europe, followed by Madrid. London, Paris, Berlin and Dublin hold the top positions.

Source: TBS Business School and El Referente.

Top 20 rounds (M€) – 2022

The verticals that received the most venture capital investment during 2022 are: business/productivity, traveltech, mobility/logistics, adtech/marketing, and real estate/proptech. Also of note are health/wellbeing, fintech, foodtech, and edtech, which registered smaller rounds but a larger number of operations

Source: Observatorio de startups. Fundación Innovación Bankinter

More than 180 startup accelerators and incubators

Support in forming and establishing startups from both the public and private sectors is apparent from the start in business accelerators and incubators. There are over 180 infrastructures of this type throughout Spain that offer advice and support for entrepreneurs.





Source: StartupXplore

Spain is a fertile territory

for co-working

Spain ranks second in Europe in number of co-working spaces, only behind the United Kingdom.

 

According to a 2019 report by Mobile World Capital Barcelona, the ongoing growth in the number of co-working spaces suggests that the Spanish entrepreneurial system is booming and is recognized as a welcoming environment that fosters entrepreneurship and innovation.

Talent

and human capital

Four Spanish business schools ( IESE Business School, IE, Esade y EADAl) rank among the European’s top 20 business schools

Source: (Bloomberg Report 2022)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the same time, Spain is among the countries with the fastest increase in professional developers, a profession with a year-on-year growth rate of 15.1%.

 

Global MBA ranking 2023

European Business School

Global MBA ranking 2023
Ranking Business School Country
1 Insead France / Singapore
2 IESE Business School Spain
3 SDA Bocconi Italy
4 London Business School UK
5 HEC Paris France
6 IE Business School Spain
7 University of Cambridge: Judge UK
8 ESCP Business School France/UK/Germany/Spain/Italy
9 University of Oxford: Saïd UK
10 Esade Business School Spain
... ... ...
33 Eada Business School Barcelona Spain
Source: Financial Times

Top 10 fastest-growing countries

for professional developers (2019)

Source: Atomico.

Wage costs

As far as wage costs are concerned, Spain is still very competitive compared to other European countries and the rest of the world.

Spain also attracts foreign talent. It is the third destination for European tech talent and the fifth for international tech talent.

Strengths of the Spanish

entrepreneurship ecosystem

Systems engineer salary (€ per year)
Source: Startup Ecosystem Overview 2019. Mobile World Capital Barcelona
Source: Digital Startup Ecosystem 2017" Mobile World Capital 2018. Atomico, Startup Genome.

Climate
and quality of life

Spain's excellent climate and quality of life are other aspects that entrepreneurs take into account when choosing our country to set up their new businesses.  

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Rising UP in Spain

Testimonials
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WorknMates

Gonzalo Aguero & Angelina Vigliocco Founders

Rising UP in Spain programme first helped us with understanding the market, and then with understanding the legislation and the culture. It has also connected us with great partners who can make our entry much cheaper, simpler and more certain".

Invisible Collector

Pedro Mendes & Miguel Rangel Founders

ICEX-Invest in Spain and the Rising UP in Spain programme have been a major part of our international adventure. They have given us the opportunity to work close to the market, to understand companies and their needs, to be in Iberia's most significant sector clusters".

Events

4YFN 2024

ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones and Red.es are jointly organising the Spain pavilion at the 4YFN (4 Years from Now) 2024 fair, which will be held in Barcelona from 26 February to 29 February as part of the Mobile World Congress (MWC).

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PDAC 2024

ICEX-Invest in Spain will participate in PDAC 2024 (Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada International Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange) to be held in Toronto (Canada) from 3 to 6 March.

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MAFIZ MÁLAGA FESTIVAL

ICEX Spain Export and Investment will be present at MAFIZ, the industry section of the Malaga Film Festival, which takes place from 4 to 8 March.

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More information
Setting up a company

The different ways in which a company can operate in Spain.

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Aids and incentives

System of funding and incentives for your project.

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Talent

Get to know the Spanish talent pool for your project.

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Visas

Visas and residence permits to live and work in Spain.