When the job markets slow down, entrepreneurship picks up and that’s exactly what’s been happening in Spain. While the Spanish economy is showing some signs of recovery, the employment “boom” is still long ways away. This gives job seekers two choices: Pack your bags for another country or start a business in Spain. While thousands are leaving the country each month, an increasing amount of talented professionals are opting to stay and build a startup.
In Barcelona, the startup trend is red hot. New companies are popping up in the technology, health, and tourism sectors almost daily. Many articles have been written about the benefits (and drawbacks) to starting up in Spain, however, in the current economic crisis, the risks of doing nothing are far worse than trying your hand at entrepreneurship.
For those brave individuals that decide to build a company, the biggest obstacle is typically access to funding. While many startups can effectively bootstrap, in most cases even a little bit of capital is necessary to get started. Luckily, Barcelona has multiple channels to get your hands on some startup capital and even some experienced professionals to help you make the most of it.
While you’re taking a break from working on your new business, here are a few of the groups in Barcelona you should be meeting with:
Barcelona Activa – Barcelona’s business development agency
ACCIÓ – Global organization for promoting Catalan businesses worldwide
INICIA – Online resource and support center for entrepreneurs in Catalonia
Wayra – Telefonica’s incubator program with operations in 14 countries worldwide
SeedRocket – One of Barcelona’s first incubator programs located in Barcelona Activa
LaSalle Technova – the largest business accelerator in Barcelona
Incubio – turning big data technology ideas into companies
LinktoStart – helping first-time entrepreneurs build a successful business
Never Alone Happy Startups Factory – a new and unique approach to incubator model
Business Angel Groups – these are networks of private investors who meet regularly to review investment opportunities and provide funding to new ventures.
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Lanta Digital Ventures
That’s just the beginning. For the motivated entrepreneur, money is everywhere. Investors are looking for great new opportunities just as hard as entrepreneurs are looking for investment. If you have a developed a solid business plan for a growing market, investors will be lining up to hear more about your project. Your job is to spread the word about your project to everyone you meet.
The most valuable asset to fundraising is your network. Leverage your contacts to find private investors and other people willing to support you and your early idea. After you gain some traction and validate your business model, you can also look at other options such as convertible loans and venture capital to scale your business into new markets. The best scenario is when you don’t need new investment at all because your skyrocketing revenues are financing your growth.
Is starting a business scary? Sure, but in comparison to unemployment, you have nothing to lose.
My advice: make a bet on yourself. You won’t regret it.