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British entrepreneurs discover investment opportunities in Catalonia

The Catalan Agency for Competitiveness and Foreign Trade (ACCIÓ) organizes an event in London to promote business dynamism and an innovative environment of the country.


20 July 2010 05:49 PM



London (CNA).-  The business-friendly environment of Catalonia was presented on Monday to British investors in an event at the London Chamber of Commerce. The Catalan Agency for Competitiveness and Foreign Trade (ACCIÓ) organised a conference to explain the advantages that make Catalonia the 'next investment opportunity' for UK companies. Delegates from Britain’s business sector learned about Barcelona’s 22@ cluster, the country’s potential in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors, the newly renovated transport connections such as Barcelona's airport as well as several programs in Research and Development. The legal and labour market of Catalonia and the pro-business orientation of the Catalan Government were also noted as advantages for entrepreneurs.

Catalonia is the first economic destination in Southern Europe, a condition that attracts an increasing number of foreign investors that are looking for new bases for entering markets in the Mediterranean, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East. The investors in London learned that Catalonia represents 16% of Spanish population, but its economy accounts for up to 20% of the state’s GDP. Moreover, Catalan companies are responsible for 30% of Spain's exportations. “The general economic situation in Catalonia remains robust, despite recession”, said the director of ACCIÓ in London, Roger Suárez. In fact, the IMF forecasts a positive growth in the country by 2011. Suárez highlighted that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per head in Catalonia is 15% higher than the EU average, while Spain as a whole represents 10% more than the European standard.

Catalonia was presented in London as a 'first-class environment' in which to live and do business in. The Business Development Manager of Investment in Catalonia, Cèlia Planasdemunt, told the delegates that Catalonia has been granted the 'European Entrepreneurial Regional Award of 2010' for its encouragement and support policies for micro, small and medium enterprises. Planasdemunt said that Catalonia is a “dynamic economy” that has more than 3,400 foreign companies with over 50% of the foreign capital.

As the most important city of the country, Barcelona was defined as the 4th best city in Europe to do business, just behind London, Paris and Frankfurt. The developments in areas of the city such as the 22@ cluster were presented at the London Chamber of Commerce by Francesc Mirón, Senior Economic Advisor of International Economic Relations of the Barcelona City Hall. Mirón said that since 2001 more than 1,500 companies have established their headquarters in the Catalan capital, creating up to 50,000 jobs. The 22@ area in Barcelona is becoming an ICT Cluster with a lot of potential, said Mirón.

The Director of Marketing Communications of Colt Technology Services, Paul Osgood, explained the experience of his company, established in Barcelona with more than 500 employees. Osgood said that Barcelona has several 'benefits' for foreign companies, such as a good quality of life, good connections to the main international networks and a multilingual population that can adapt easily to the demands of multinational companies.

The director of ACCIÓ, Roger Suárez, invited all of the investors interested in doing business in Catalonia to contact its organisation. In fact, ACCIÓ, through its program 'Invest in Catalonia', enabled the setting up and implementation of 33 investment projects in the country –valued for up to €544 million- and helping to generate 3,000 jobs.

The Delegate of the Catalan Government in London, Xavier Solano, closed the event. In his remarks, Solano thanked all of the investors that attended the conferences and said that the advantages and benefits that Catalonia has for foreign companies are not only described by Catalans themselves, but are also recognised in high-ranking reports and by agencies such as the European Union or the Financial Times, that recently published an article entitled 'Doing Business in Catalonia'.


  • The Delegate of the Catalan Government in the UK, Xavier Solano

  • The director of ACCIÓ, Roger Suárez

  • The Delegate of the Catalan Government in the UK, Xavier Solano
  • The director of ACCIÓ, Roger Suárez