Ever since the financial crisis in 2008, various groups in Spain have suffered because of increasing instability. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this problem. Therefore, in February 2021, Spain’s government revealed its Entrepreneurial Strategy (1), including a new Startup Act, to make Spain a more entrepreneurial country by 2030. The ten-year plan, involving 50 additional measures (2), will give Spain a more powerful, entrepreneurial presence in Europe and revitalise the economy after COVID. Spain will use part of its Next Generation EU subsidy of approximately €1.5 billion this year to put these ideas into action.
The major goals of the Startup Act in Spain
- Advance of startups. The Act will encourage the creation of new businesses by offering tax incentives and red tape reductions.
- Investment in existing companies. Providing money and incentives will encourage businesses to stay in Spain instead of moving abroad. It will also focus on job quality, encouraging workers to join newly expanding and entrepreneurial companies.
- Talent retention in Spain. It will be possible through the improvement of education for creating entrepreneurs. As a result, young people will remain in Spain, instead of moving abroad looking for opportunities. It will also draw in world-leading professionals.
- Innovation of the public sector. The Act will promote entrepreneurship and generate capital investment.
The main sectors involved in the Entrepreneurial Strategy
Various sectors will contribute to the making of Spain into a fully entrepreneurial country by 2030:
- Industry: Spain is working on the Estrategia Industria Conectada 4.0 (3) project. It will focus on cybersecurity and the internet, emphasising digital transformation.
- Tourism: Due to the pandemic, it is necessary to reactivate this vital sector. Artificial intelligence, including virtual reality, alongside new marketing measures, will help boost tourism.
- Transport: The increased use of public transport, new technologies such as 5G and electric cars will revamp sustainability and reduce fossil fuels. The Spanish National Department of Traffic (Dirección General de Tráfico) will lead project Plataforma de vehiculo conectado 3.0 (4), a platform to offer users traffic updates. The government also proposes the creation of more bike and public transport lanes and parks.
- Health: Spain has one of the most efficient health systems in Europe thanks to the introduction of e-health and the use of new technologies, including video appointments. COVID has forced care services to adapt, with social media now essential in spreading the message about health.
- Construction: Housing is a universal right. The sector requires faster and safer processes, with less environmental impact, using drones and technologies like Building Information Modelling (BIM).
- Energy: Renewable energy is key in society, employing hydroelectric, photovoltaic, wind, ocean, and geothermal. The National Integrated Energy Plan (PNIEC) or Plan Nacional Integrado de Energía y Clima 2021-2030 (5) envisions the decarbonisation of Spain by 2050. The conservation of energy is important in the fight against climate change, the prevention of pollution, and the protection of nature.
- Finance: Due to COVID, banks need to improve efficiency and profitability. These will be possible with technological advances such as big data, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. Fintech has also grown massively and will continue to innovate the sector.
- Telecommunications: The use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robots, and data analysis, as envisaged in España Digital 2025 (6), will modernise and digitalise this sector. Cybersecurity is also a key government aim to assure national security.
- Agriculture: Innovation in this sector requires an increase in exports. There will also be a focus on the processing of food, the adoption of biotechnology, and the use of drones to protect the environment. Sustainable food is the end goal.
- Biotechnology: This constantly transforming sector secures wellbeing and quality of life. The four principal areas of biotechnology are agriculture (diseases), industry (additives) environment (bacteria), and medicine (antibiotics). Spain is currently ninth worldwide for knowledge in a sector that is becoming increasingly relevant because of COVID and climate change.
The dominant groups that will benefit from the Entrepreneurial Strategy
Various groups in Spain have suffered inequality for many years. This new initiative will provide help for women, disadvantaged people living in poorer areas, and youths, by reducing discrimination and poverty and increasing job opportunities.
The Startup Act in Spain is due to be approved in the next few weeks. It represents the first nationwide initiative to reactivate the economy as part of Spain’s Entrepreneurial Strategy.
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