With a fully consolidated democracy, high security indices, a high technological and communications level, as well as state-of-the-art infrastructures worldwide and noteworthy scientific and cultural production, Spain has been advancing in innovation, entrepreneurship and competitiveness.
Spain’s efforts to be a highly competitive country are finally paying off. In the Global Competitiveness Report 2018 prepared by the World Economic Forum every year, Spain is ranked 26th amongst the 140 most competitive States, in a ranking led by the United States. There are variables in the study in which Spain is particularly prominent: it has been ranked first in healthcare systems (the report ranks positively the quality of healthcare systems in Europe, highlighting the Spanish system); and ranked 10th in terms of infrastructures. The other 12 areas of the study included the competitiveness of the country and its institutions, information technologies, macroeconomic stability, the employment market and the financial system.
To evaluate the competitiveness of a country the annual classification by the World Bank is also useful in its Doing Business report. The study looks at the ease of doing business, setting, acquiring building permits, the supply of electricity, property registration, obtaining credit, the protection of minority investors, payment of taxes, transborder trade, compliance with contracts and resolving insolvencies. Basically, all the procedures an entrepreneur needs to start a business and keep it up and running. In this report, Spain is ranked 30th on a list of 190 countries. Spain stands out for transborder trade, the resolution of insolvencies and compliance with contracts.
The excellence of its business schools is another factor for measuring competitiveness. In this area, Spain has become a management platform with an international reputation with schools like the IESE, the Company Institute (IE) and ESADE, amongst the best in the world, according to the Global MBA Ranking 2019 by the Financial Times and Quacquarelli Symonds.
An ideal home for technological startups
As far as the ease of setting up startups is concerned (technologically-based companies financed by venture capital), the Financial Times recently ranked Barcelona and Madrid as two of the European cities where this type of entrepreneurial initiative had grown the most. In Spain as a whole, there are currently more than 4,115 start-ups, a 30% increase on the 2017 figure. Together, the two cities attracted 1,340 million Euros in investments in 2018, a yearly increase of 70% according to the Startup Ecosystem Overview 2019 report for the Mobile World Congress of Barcelona. Some of these companies are worth more than 1 billion Euros.
Barcelona and Madrid are among the top 10 cities in Europe in which to develop a startup, rating 5th and 10th consecutively. An additional key factor for entrepreneurship is the quality of the technology such as the implementation of fibre optics which guarantees high-speed Internet connections.
As far as venture capital is concerned, Spain is on a par with most developed countries. 2017 was a record year for venture capital in Spain with an investment volume of nearly 5 billion Euros. Against a backdrop of economic growth, low interest rates and high economic liquidation seems to be attracting international investors according to the report Evolution in venture capital in the Spanish economy by the Savings Banks’ Foundation (Funcas).
- Global Competitiveness Report 2018
- World Bank report “Doing Business”
- Financial Times
- Report Startup Ecosystem Overview 2019 for the Barcelona Mobile World Congress
- Evolution in venture capital in the Spanish economy by the Savings Banks’ Foundation (Funcas))