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Barcelona is among the European Union's top five hubs for start-ups in 2024

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Barcelona is among the European Union's top five hubs for start-ups in 2024

  1. According to Startup Heatmap Europe 2023, Catalonia's capital occupies second place in the ranking of cities that founders prefer when starting a company for the sixth consecutive year
  2. It places Barcelona behind only Berlin, and ahead of cities such as Amsterdam, Paris and Lisbon
  3. Catalonia has more than 2,000 start-ups according to Catalan Government figures

Barcelona climbs one position and is now the fifth-ranked start-up ecosystem in the European Union in 2024 according to the list announced last Thursday by StartupBlink, one of the leading international consultancies specialising in the analysis of start-up ecosystems. The Catalan capital is ranked behind only Paris, Berlin, Stockholm and Amsterdam.

When drawing up this ranking, the consultancy takes into account parameters including the number of start-ups in each ecosystem, their quality and the business climate. It also considers indicators including the number of co-working spaces and accelerators, the amount of exits and unicorns, the traction generated by major start-ups, and a range of business and economic indicators at a regional scale.

According to the Minister for Business and Labour, Roger Torrent i Ramió, this result shows that “in less than a decade, we have established ourselves as a mature digital and technological ecosystem, with one of the most developed hubs for start-ups in Europe.” According to Torrent, this fabric of start-ups is “one of the foundations of our business development model, which acts as a lever to accelerate innovation and attract strategic foreign investment projects to the country.”

The report also ranks Barcelona as the world's leading city in the video games sector and the pharmaceutical industry, and states that “Barcelona has consolidated its strong position in the European Union's start-up scene,” according to the CEO of StartupBlink, Eli David Rokah. The manager of the consultancy also highlighted the contribution made by the Government of Catalonia: “we are impressed by the Catalan Government's work in the ecosystem to achieve these exceptional results.

A growing ecosystem

According to Catalan Government data, Catalonia has 2,102 start-ups (data from 2023), a record high, and 4% more than the previous year. This ecosystem accounts for 20,600 jobs (an increase of 8%) and a turnover of more than 2.1 billion euros (14% more than the previous year and the highest figure in the series).

From a sectoral point of view, Catalan start-ups are dedicated to health (16.9%), business services and software (15.2%); ICT and mobile (5.7%); food (5.2%) and sustainability and energy (5%). Other notable sectors include fintech (4.8%), travel and leisure (4.4%), educational technologies (3.8%) and those dedicated to digital content and media (3.6%).