We are the growth partner for Catalan startups. We specialize in accelerating startups, connecting Catalan startups with other leading ecosystems around the globe such as Silicon Valley, Boston, London, Singapore and Hong Kong and fostering the startup ecosystem of Barcelona, by promoting the Barcelona & Catalonia Startup Hub.
We have three main objectives: connect startups to the ecosystem, professionalize their teams and strengthen their business models. Specifically, we perform different assessment programmes available to startups depending on their lifecycle moment and needs, basically aimed at:
- Validating the market and business model for early-stage companies
Pushing the international aspect of companies.
- The positioning of Catalan startups
Publicity and promotion of trade fairs and events organized in Catalonia focussed on startups.
- Promoting the international aspects of startups
We help build the international aspect of companies, via different actions and programmes.
Assessment is given by Catalonia Trade & Investment Offices abroad. Specific support programmes in the design and execution of an internationalisation strategy. Participation in international trade missions and trade fairs.
This City's Cases
Settling as a founder
European citizens are legally free to live and work in Catalonia while residence and work permits for non-EU citizens are easily arranged
International mobility is key to foreign companies coming from abroad and for attracting talented workers into Catalonia. Good deployment planning greatly facilitates the entrance of highly skilled workers to Catalonia, and also increases the chances of success for implantation of projects within the region.
Nationals from the EU Member States
Nationals from the EU Member States, the European Economic Area or Switzerland can entry, reside and work in Spain, having the same rights and obligations as Spanish citizens.
Nationals from non-EU countries
Nationals from non-EU countries are required to obtain an authorization to live and work in Spain. The regulatory framework for immigration in Spain is characterized by the coexistence of two laws, the application of which depends on the characteristics of the interested person and the immigration reasons. Along these lines, there is a wide range of possibilities for obtaining a permit quickly and easily: visas and permits are processed and approved in 10 and 20 working days, respectively.
The Entrepreneurs Act (L 14/2013) contemplates a wide range of visa or permit possibilities, such as for highly qualified professionals, intra-company transfers, entrepreneurs, and investors. Dependent on the UGE-CE (Unidad de Grandes Empresas y Colectivos Estratégicos), the Law 14/2013 promotes an entrepreneurial culture, attracting foreign talent without taking into account the National Employment Situation (internal labor market), and offers an accessible entrance of investment and talent considering it beneficial for the region.
Furthermore, there is the second law of immigration that allows one to obtain other types of visa, such as employees with a labor contract, self-employed employees and transnational provision of services. This is the Law on Foreigners (LO 4/2000), which regulates different kinds of residence permits limited to a concrete regional area in Spain.
Unlike the Entrepreneurs Act, the Law on Foreigners takes into account the National Employment Situation for the granting of certain permits and also works under the auspices of the Catalan Government. Another feature that differentiates them is in how they are applied: while the Entrepreneurs Act procedures can be performed in Catalonia, the Law on Foreigners demands that projects must be implemented in the country of residence.
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Both incubators and accelerators promote the growth of innovative companies and help startups grow. Incubator programs include several forms of mentorship and support in early stages. Business accelerators offer business advisory services to minimise lack of experience errors or management problems, and are meeting, training and networking spaces for startups.
Access to capital
The main incentive programmes offer both preferential grants and loans for business projects in the following: R&D and innovation, training, energy efficiency, investment in fixed assets and job creation with further incentives available for international activities.
Corporate benefits under the Spanish tax system
Corporate benefits under the Spanish tax system include R&D activities (between 25% and 59%) and technological innovations (12%).
Spain has a large number of double taxation treaties, especially with Latin American countries, which makes it an ideal jurisdiction for investments in Latin America
Up to 59% in tax rebates for R+D+I
Spain and Catalonia offer one of the best tax deduction systems for research, development and technological innovation activities for companies in Europe.
Tax Regime for Spanish Holding Companies
Tax Regime for Spanish Holding Companies (“ETVEs”) is a special Corporate Income Tax Act regime that applies to holding companies owning shares in non-resident entities. It is one of the most favorable tax regimes for holding companies and encourages international groups to establish headquarters and manage international shareholdings from Spain.
The main advantages of this regime are that certain income derived from non-resident companies can benefit from being exempt on dividends and capital gains derived by the ETVE, and from repatriating dividends to non-resident shareholders of the ETVE without being subject to withholding in Spain when specific requirements are met.
Access to talent
Education is one of the government’s strategic priorities and considered to be essential to the region’s economic and social development. So it is not surprising that there are 12 universities, offering over 1,050 different degrees and masters, 17 international schools and Barcelona is home to two of the world’s most prestigious business schools -ESADE and IESE-, ranked among the Europe’s top ten, according to leading economic publications.
The Times Higher Education has ranked the Catalan university system as the 3rd best in Europe, behind the Netherlands and Switzerland. A sign of the educational excellence found here is the number of international students who come to Catalonia to pursue their studies in a wide variety of disciplines.
The Catalan government promotes a high level of university research related activity as well as exchange programmes for researchers on a European and global level. Proof of the good research results is the fact that Catalonia represents 3% of the European Research Area and concentrates 67% of the financial aid given by the ERC (European Research Council) to Spain (2015). Between 2007 and 2016, Catalonia has received 30 ERC grants per million inhabitants, ranking 4th in the European Research Area (ERA) and 2nd in the EU (Source: Biocat, 2016)
Setting up your Company
Locate and expand your business in Catalonia, a top European region for FDI attraction
Catalonia encourages the setting up of large, medium and small companies and startups in the region in order to boost up the economy. Foreign investors are welcome, from both EU Member States or non-European countries, and the procedure to set up a business is simple. In addition, there are many options for setting up a business depending on the characteristics and objectives of the investors.
Options for setting up a business in Catalonia
- The incorporation of a share capital Company is the most usual form of investment in Catalonia and can adopt different legal forms, including the Public Limited Liability Company (S.A.) and the Private Limited Liability Company (S.L.). The new Company has to appoint a representative, who must hold a Spanish national identity card number. If the representative is a foreigner, he or she must apply for a foreigner’s identification number (NIE).
- The Branch is a permanent establishment that has certain powers of self-management through which the Parent Company operates in Catalonia. Although it is managed by its Parent Company, the Branch must have a legal representative in Catalonia duly empowered in order to carry out its duties. In general, the requirements, formalities, steps and costs related to establishing a Branch are very similar to those for a subsidiary, with a few differences.
- The Representative Office cannot trade and its activities are mainly promotional, coordination, assistance, etc. It has neither a permanent establishment nor legal personality, as it is subject to the status of its Parent Company, which also has unlimited liability for the debts of its Representative Office. Although it is managed by its Parent Company, the Representative Office must have a legal representative in Catalonia duly empowered in order to carry out its duties.
- Registering as a Self-Employed is a way to work for an individual who pursues a for-profit economic activity on a regular basis, without being subject to a contract of employment. The self-employed person can open a work center and register as an employer with the Social Security in order to employ workers.
- Associating with local shareholders or other companies already established in Catalonia, obtaining, as a result, Joint Ventures.
- There are other ways of setting up a business in Catalonia without the need to establish a center of operations in the territory, such as making distribution agreements, operating through an agent or a commission agent, establishing a franchise or having a license agreement.