Barcelona promotes itself in the UK's biggest event for small businesses

The 'Business Startup Show' in London includes an exhibitor from the Barcelona City Council where visitors can get information about the benefits of investing and opening a company in the Catalan Capital

Laura Pous

November 30, 2010 09:00 PM

The city of Barcelona is an attractive destination for entrepreneurs looking for new places to develop professional projects. With this in mind, the Barcelona City Council, in collaboration with the Catalan Agency Promoting Competitiveness for Catalonia (ACC1Ó), is presenting the advantages that Barcelona offers to foreign investors. The Director of Marketing and International Economic Promotion of the Barcelona City Council, Jordi Sacristan, told CNA that Barcelona 'attracts' foreign entrepreneurs because it offers both good business conditions and a high-quality standard of life.
When asked why a British businessperson should look to Barcelona as a place for business in spite of having such an international capital as London, Sacristan was clear: “Barcelona has a more diversified economy than London”, he said, adding that those interested in sectors other than finance could find better conditions in the Catalan capital than in the UK.

According to him, despite the economic crisis, the interest in Barcelona “is growing”, especially in the UK and Scandinavian countries. “Barcelona is a city that is always attracting foreigners”, he said. “Barcelona offers entrepreneurs with many advantages that others probably do not have”, he added. The aim of the Barcelona City Council is for Barcelona to become a “global option” for businesspeople. “We want to present Barcelona as a real option to compete internationally”, Sacristan argued.

In the UK, the promotion of Barcelona as a place for business is a challenge, as the British press and markets argue that the Spanish economy is struggling with its debts and may possibly ask for a bailout. However, Barcelona and Catalonia as a whole represent a specific economical environment different from that in Madrid, and the promotion in the 'Business Startup Show' aims, amongst other things, to demonstrate that.

In a conference at the show, Jordi Sacristan pronounced the advantages of Barcelona as a city for business. In front of a group of young entrepreneurs, Sacristan mentioned Barcelona’s business hubs, such as the modern 22@ area, where a lot of projects are being developed. Similarly, he added that Barcelona is a good city for those looking for a place to do research.

The Director of Marketing and International Economic Promotion of Barcelona said that the Catalan city has “very good” transport connections, both by air and sea. He argued that the city has lots of young, qualified and multilingual professionals, and that about 1,500 companies have been created in the city in the last few years. Sectors such as design, new technologies and media are developing and expanding quickly in the city, according to Sacristan.

The event in London was also an opportunity for visitors to learn about the 'Do It in Barcelona' website. 'Do It in Barcelona' is a website that offers personalized itineraries to guide entrepreneurs through successfully developing their business in the city. The website was recently awarded with the Eurocities 2010 prize. Sacristan explained that the website is an 'excellent' tool for people looking for business opportunities in Barcelona. 'Do it in Barcelona' offers resources such a 'Test Idea' to assess business ideas, a guide to raise funds with information about existing financial instruments, public grants, subsidies and tax incentives, and a guide to legal entities.