The Government of Catalonia and Barcelona City Council are jointly promoting the participation of 30 Catalan start-ups in two of the world's leading technology congresses this November to boost the local start-up ecosystem. These events are SWITCH in Singapore, taking place this week in the Asian city, and Web Summit in Lisbon, to be held from 13 to 16 November in the Portuguese capital.
The initiative, under the name 'Barcelona-Catalonia Startup Ecosystem', aims to promote Barcelona and Catalonia as leading hubs for European start-ups, increase international connections, and attract international start-ups, scale-ups, and unicorns. Catalan start-ups will have their own stand and a complementary agenda of activities to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the events and business ecosystems. There will also be networking and activities to promote Barcelona's technological and innovative ecosystem.
According to the Secretary for Business and Competitiveness of the Government of Catalonia, Albert Castellanos y Maduell, "it is as essential to connect Catalan start-ups with investors and other companies on an international scale to guarantee their growth as it is to connect Catalonia with other leading start-up hubs around the world." "This is the aim of the joint initiative between the Government and Barcelona City Council: to ensure the impact of technological innovation generated by start-ups has a catalysing effect on the entire ecosystem and the Catalan economy", he stated.
For the Deputy Mayor for Economy, Finance, Economic Promotion and Tourism of Barcelona City Council, Jordi Valls, "local entrepreneurs are the best possible ambassadors to position Barcelona as an innovative capital". Aside from what this new initiative means in terms of positioning the city, he added that "we must take advantage of our presence in international forums to highlight the city's major knowledge infrastructures, which allow us to diversify our economy and be highly competitive".
Web Summit in Lisbon is expected to attract more than 70,000 visitors from more than 160 countries.
Barcelona and Catalonia, a leading start-up ecosystem
According to the study “Analysis of the start-up ecosystem in Catalonia 2022” conducted by the Government of Catalonia, Catalonia currently has more than 2,000 start-ups that have created more than 19,100 jobs and have attracted 1.653 billion euros in investment in 2022, the highest figure on record. The study also indicates that the number of start-ups has increased by 6.3% compared to 2021, and by 86% compared to 2016, from 1,086 to over 2,000. Together, they have a combined turnover of 1.72 billion euros.
From a sectoral point of view, Catalan start-ups are mainly dedicated to health (16%); business services and software (12%); ICT and mobile (6%); food (5%) and finance (5%). The same study indicates that in recent years Catalan start-ups have increased in size: 76% of companies currently have fewer than 10 workers, compared to 87% in 2019, before the pandemic.