Business incubators have grown in prominence in recent years. They can play a crucial role in helping startups develop and generate profits. Research suggests that incubated firms have a survival rate up to three times higher than non-incubated firms. If you want to rent a flat in Barcelona and join one of the city’s many incubators, ShBarcelona provides Barcelona apartments for rent throughout the city.
In 1986, the city council founded Barcelona Activa, with the goal of improving the economic growth of the city and promoting businesses, entrepreneurship and employment. The initiative provides major incubators for innovative startups. Their incubators offer a home to some 100 innovative startups for a period of 3 years, during which they receive office space, training and development opportunities and access to investors. Startups that are accepted to the incubators are charged a subsidized rent beginning at approximately €9 per square meter which include all the available onsite and online services. 83% of the companies that have passed through the incubators remain operating four years later.
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Beyond the city council, the list of alternative incubators is extensive. Seedrocket is a private initiative providing a complete Seed Funding Venture Program for Entrepreneurs that includes funding, training and support that vary according to individual need for new technology startups. Services include a shared workspace to exploit synergies and access to investors, mentors and business angels. 71 companies were installed there in 2012.
A further incubator, Almogàvers Business Factory (ABF), was launched in June 2011 as a public/private collaboration model, with member organizations ranging from universities to companies looking for relevant talent. Applicants to the ABF require linkage to these collaborating entities in order to develop in the environment of these organizations and take advantage of their administrative, logistical and high value-added services on offer.
Telefónica runs a leading incubator in the global ICT sector for startups associated with the web environment or with mobile software known as Wayra. The incubator operates across a network of countries throughout Latin America and Europe. Their Barcelona academy was launched in October 2012 and last year received around 400 applicants to the programme, of which only 10 were accepted. Successful applicants receive funding of up to €50,000 as well as workspace, training, and access to the Telefónica network.
La Salle Technova Barcelona is another innovative technology incubator. It helps entrepreneurs develop a business proposal and utilizes the shared knowledge of participating university research groups, innovation departments and business. Their business support programme covers funding, technology development, location-finding and training. The Incubio incubator, meanwhile, specializes in projects offering business processes as a service and provides financial support and guidance from concept development to private investment. They divide the incubation cost between the incubated companies, who can have their payments delayed until their first milestone of external financing.
Further incubation opportunities are available through intermittent Barcelona programs provided by international organizations such as the Founder Institute, the largest incubator in the world and Seedcamp, which was named best incubator in Europe in 2011.
The decision over which incubator to join is a complex one. Options vary widely in price, services offered and quality. Anyone considering joining an incubator must ensure that they choose the right program for their startup’s individual needs.
Whatever the requirements, entrepreneurs are spoilt for choice in Barcelona.