Could Barcelona be the Technological Hub of Southern Europe?
Barcelona is a benchmark internationally when it comes to the creation of technological companies. Companies that have had success internationally were established in the city, including Edreams, Privalia and Letsbonus, and in recent years, technological proposals offered by entrepreneurs are increasing: SocialPoint, Wallapop, Byhours and Sctyl. "We've got the companies, we've got business incubators, we've got talent and we've got skills... what else do we need? We need to show leadership skills, and put together and generate new, better opportunities", explains Miquel Martí, the CEO of Barcelona Tech City.
Barcelona Tech City is a private, non-profit association whose main goal is to contribute to making the city of Barcelona the benchmark technological hub of Southern Europe. In order to prove that this is possible, last April they presented their first sectoral report. "We knew there was business, that lots of international companies work in Barcelona, that it was an industry that was on the up, but we didn't have specific data". The most important data to come out of this study was divulged at UPF Barcelona School of Management, within the framework of a conference organised in collaboration with the UPF Business Shuttle: A turnover of 6 million euros, 10,000 jobs, an international presence in more than 50 countries and a significant rate of growth. "Most of these companies do not last five years. In Barcelona there are currently between 500 and 600 start-ups and all of this potential needs to be put in order and condensed with a view to gaining representation on a global level and play in the same league as London, Paris, Berlin and New York", explains Martí.
The objectives of this technological business cluster include forming relationships, creating synergies, attracting investment and pinpointing new business opportunities. It wants to take advantage of the entrepreneurial, technological trend that has spontaneously sprung up in Barcelona transforming it into a city that is at the forefront of this industry. In order to sustain this momentum and, above all, consolidate it and transform Barcelona into the technological benchmark for Southern Europe, Barcelona Tech City is working on an annual activities plan which includes networking events, training, workshops with entrepreneurs, funding rounds, conferences, prizes for entrepreneurship and collaboration in events such as 4YFN, Sonar+D, Primavera Sound, BizBarcelona, SIL2015 and Hispack, among others. "The technological sector has to be the driving force for change within business and traditional industries in Barcelona because the future is technological. We want to play the role of driver mediating between traditional and digital sectors in order to be more competitive, ground-breaking and innovative" states Martí. To summarise, he reiterates: "We have the companies, we have the business incubators, we have talent and we have skills... Now we want to consolidate recognition."