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  • 26% of workers are foreigners, from other Western Europe countries, mainly
  • The city of Barcelona is considered the third favourite hub for start-up creators

Catalonia consolidates as a pole of attraction for start-ups, with 1,300 companies and almost 14,000 workersCatalonia is already perceived as a first-class technologic hub to make business and invest. In this sense, start-ups become a relevant agent for the generation and transfer of technology. The Ministry of Business and Knowledge of the Government of Catalonian confirms this fact by making public the data collected by Barcelona & Catalonia Start-up Hub, a platform created by ACCIÓ, which, in its annual meeting, gathered some 500 professionals from the start-up ecosystem.

According to data from this platform, Catalan start-ups currently generate 13,820 posts. Of these, 26% are held by foreigners, mainly from other Western Europe countries (46%), South America (26%), Eastern Europe (9%), the Asia-Pacific zone (7%), Africa and the Middle East (6%) and North-America (6%). In the founders’ case, 15% come from other countries. Globally, 38% of the Catalan start-ups driving movers have previously created other companies.

By sectors, with a 17%, the start-ups related to technology connected to the Industry 4.0 stand out, followed by life sciences (13%) and mobile & software (11%). The main business model for these companies is the e-commerce/marketplace (45% of the total), ahead of development and manufacturing (23%), the software as a service or SaaS (22%) and subscription (20%).

Additionally, according to the Ranking of Europe’s biggest start-up hubs in 2017, prepared by EU-Start-ups, Barcelona is considered the third favourite hub by start-up creators, as 20% of European founders would chose it to establish his/her emerging company, right behind London and Berlin (as noted down by the ranking Start-up Heatmap Europe 2018). In relation to funding, Barcelona is the fourth European city in investment volume received by start-ups, according to Atomico.

Barcelona & Catalonia Start-up Hub is a digital platform acting as a meeting point for the Catalan start-ups aiming at positioning the Catalan ecosystem in the world and drive investment attraction. This directory gathers companies less than 10 years old, with scalable and repeatable business models, applicable in global environments, and oriented to fast growth.


Xavier Mayo, Head of City Promotion Abroad, Barcelona City Council
January 2019
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