What is the best country for startups? Believe it or not, it’s Spain

No country for old economy. Beyond the sluggish economy, the real state cracked up and the 20% unemployment rate Spain is doing his homework very well in terms of creating new companies in Bio-tech and IT.

Let me make the case 🙂

Imagine that you create a company and you raise 500.000€. Here below is what you can get is you base your company in Barcelona:

  • 500,000€ loan from ENISA.
  • 400,000€ grant & loan from CDTI.
  • 100,000€ loan from Plan Avanza for your IT Systems
  • and you can get between 100,000€ to 300,000€ from other public institutions

That means that you can raise almost to 1.5 million Euros at no dilution !!! Any other place in the world where you can get it? Please, give me ideas.

In detail:

From ENISA, you can get a maximum of 1M€ if you have another 1M€ invested in the company. The loan is long term, between 5-10 years with grace period between 3-5 (It means you start to repay your loan after 3 years).

From CDTI, if you are a brand new company: for start-ups (at the time of applying for support, the company must have less than two years since its creation) and in need of funding to demonstrate the business feasibility of their innovation. CDTI provide in these cases and after careful evaluation, a credit “seed”, called Help NEOTEC, which generally have a maximum of 350,000€ (400,000€ when technological breakthrough) at zero interest rate without additional guarantees, which may not exceed 70% of the total project budget. The repayment of the aid will be in annual installments of up to 20% of the cash flow of the company when it is positive.

For older companies:  innovative companies with a length of between 2 and 6 years. Refundable aid will be granted up to 1,000,000€. Should have previously received help for creating Neotec the company, will be deducted from this amount of aid received previously. The repayment of the aid will be in annual installments of 20% of the cash flow of the company when this is positive.

Anyway, if you have any other technology project you can apply what is called “Fondo Tecnologico”: a combination 15% grant 85% loan with good repayment terms and grace period.

Do you have to set up you IT Systems? Then you have Plan Avanza. They will help with a loan at 0% rate and up 200,000€ in order to implement your ERP, ERP and other business information systems.

In the “others” section we have many grants & loans. You can get them from the local governments in every “Comunidad Autonoma” (similar to a state in the US). The most active communities so far I know are Catalunya, Extremadura and Navarra.

Here you have some local help that you can get in Barcelona:

In addition, if you base your company in a place like Barcelona Activa. You will get an office and other facilities almost at zero cost or very, very low.

Do you have to travel to open offices, sign distribution agreements or partnerships? The Barcelona Chamber of Commerce will help with many programs in order to do market research; pay you travel expenses; find partners and pay set up fees.

Hey, I want to open an office in the states! Well, you have several options here. Use the Plug&Play program of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce. Or you can apply to some of the loans that Instiuto de Credito Oficial – ICO.

Furthermore, if you need to open in different locations around the globe, you can use the network of offices of the Catalan Government. They also help in with some grant and loan when you set up new international offices. The have a wide range of programs that you can apply for at ACCIO.

On the private side, we have a promising Venture Capital landscape. Caixa Capital Risc, Debaeque and Inveready are investing actively in new companies. Moreover, we have day-by-day more international VC investing in the international companies based in Barcelona such as Kennet, Atlas, Amadeus, TA, Elaia…

Above all, we have a super active Business Angels investment network called SeedRocket. They help, train, mentor and invest in new start-ups with promising business models.

In Spain there are a lot of people at management level in public and private institution doing the right thing. Zapatero & Rajoy; Montilla & Mas,  Hereu & Trias… please learn from the people that you have below they are getting things done!

Definitely, Barcelona is one of the best places in the world to setup a new company. We have the talent, the quality of life, the weather and the money.


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