Catalan companies have received 766 million euros from the European Commission’s Next Generation funds since their activation in mid-2021, representing 21.09% of the total granted to Spanish companies, according to data from ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, the agency for business competitiveness of the Ministry of Business and Labour. This is one of the main conclusions of the first appraisal conducted in Catalonia regarding the productive sector’s access to the competitive calls for these European funds, activated by various ministries and entities in Spain.
This was announced at a press conference with the Minister for Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, and the Secretary for Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ, Albert Castellanos. Torrent explained that so far, 618 companies have accessed the Next Generation funds, representing nearly 24% of the total. In other words, 1 in every 4 companies in Spain receiving funding from these grants aimed at transforming the European economy is Catalan.
The Minister explained that "even though Catalonia has 16% of the Spanish population, it accounts for 21% of the Next Generation funding and 24% of the total companies accessing them: further evidence of the capacity of Catalan companies to lead the transformation of the economy through these historic grants." However, the Minister for Business and Labour said he was “convinced” that Catalonia "could still do far better with direct management of the funds, due to local proximity and with the maximum knowledge of the Catalan business reality." He lamented that, “it doesn't make sense to have to go through Madrid.”
According to ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment's figures, the 618 Catalan companies that have obtained funding are predominantly SMEs (83%) and are spread across 31 Catalan regions. The most noteworthy are Barcelonès (46.8% of benefiting Catalan companies), Vallès Occidental (17.8%), Baix Llobregat (10.4%), Vallès Oriental (5%), and Gironès (4%).
In terms of sectors, the business projects using the Next Generation funds in Catalonia come from companies in the industrial systems sector (26% of the total), health (16.5%), R&D (9.5%), chemistry, energy, and resources (8.4%), sustainable mobility (8.2%), and experience-based industries (6.8%).
Support for accessing Next Generation grants
Albert Castellanos, the Secretary for Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, stated that the Catalan Government had been active from the very beginning to "maximize the access of Catalan companies to these resources, which aimed at rebuilding the foundations of the productive system, making it more resilient and sustainable, adapting it to global challenges, and moving forward in the ecological and digital transition." He emphasized that, “we are aware of the complexity of this instrument and that if we could manage it directly, it would be for more efficient and direct. That is why we promptly launched the ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment Next Generation Office to ensure the maximum number of companies could access this funding.”
With this objective in mind, since the office's opening in late 2021, over 1,500 Catalan companies have received advice on accessing calls for Next Generation EU funds. So far, 126 Catalan companies that have received advice from ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment's Next Generation Office have obtained financing, 22.6% of the total Catalan companies benefiting from it.
Furthermore, there are currently 5,000 participants enrolled in the personalized alerts service to stay informed about the calls that best suit their business projects. It is also worth noting that there have been over 8,000 participants in the sessions organized by ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment to learn how to access the Next Generation EU funds.