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Innovation is the key to gaining and maintaining leadership in world markets. New ideas and new ways of doing things are the main ingredients for permanent business success. Barcelona is one of Europe’s most dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystems, especially in the field of new technologies thanks to multiple factors that have given the city over 1,200 startups with ambition and global vision.

A competitive environment Catalonia enjoys a dynamic, industrial, diverse and extremely business friendly economy making it a great location for innovation, entrepreneurship and R&D activities. Its capital, Barcelona, a magnet for professionals, researchers and students all over the world, holds the title of 1st European Capital of Innovation, according to iCapital Prize.

With leading scientific facilities, such as the ALBA Synchrotron, Mare Nostrum Supercomputer, Biomedical Research Park, Scientific Park of Barcelona or ICIQ, Catalonia has a well-established innovation scene that will help you achieve your innovation goals.

Innovation and R&D Catalonia received the most R&D investment and showed the highest number of R&D jobs in all Continental Europe (fDi Markets), making the region a key innovation hub not only in Spain but in Europe as a whole. Innovation and R&D activities benefit from efficient tax deduction schemes, as well as from lower corporate tax rates than those in neighbouring countries. Some cases of cutting edge multinationals performing R&D in Catalonia include HP, Amazon, Facebook, Nestlé, Bayer, Nissan, Roche or BASF.

The main sectors in Catalonia regarding R&D investment are Software & IT Services, Business Services, Business Machines & Equipment and Communication. ICT is indeed a very powerful sector in Catalonia, with more than 15,000 companies that account for almost 16,000 million euros of annual revenue. Together with a consolidated industrial economy, Catalonia stands out as a significant location for developing projects in the Industry 4.0 sector, a revolution in the digitalization of manufacturing processes. Moreover, Catalonia Trade & Investment works intensely on strengthening three strategic sectors for Catalonia: circular economy, smart cities and 3D Printing.

Talent attraction The availability of top-notch talent, with a wide range of profiles, will adapt to any of your company’s innovation needs. Barcelona has strengthened its position as one of the world’s leading cities in international talent attraction, with the number of professionals employed in R&D activities increasing around 4%. The amount of researchers in Catalonia is also growing by 4%.

Catalonia, with more than 1,050 degrees and masters, and more that 236,000 university students, has one of the highest student populations in Europe. Scientific publication is outstanding, and patents and technology transfer collaborations are growing at a healthy pace. With 0.1% of the planet’s population, Catalonia accounts for 1% of worldwide and 3.7% of EU-28 scientific production. Also, Catalan requests for European patents showed a relevant increase of 15.7% in 2017.

Startup ecosystem Catalonia is home to more than 1,200 startups that share a passion for innovation and thrive in sectors like Internet & Mobile Software and Services, eCommerce and Big Data. A global landmark, Barcelona is the third city preferred by entrepreneurs to create a new startup, only behind London and Berlin. Check the Barcelona and Catalonia Startup Hub to browse through all the startups based here. Also, Barcelona is the 5th European region in terms of startups, according to several renowned international rankings such as EU-Startups and Startup Heatmap Europe. The city has become a clear benchmark in Europe in the creation of new companies, especially those with a technological base. Top incubators and accelerators help boost the startup ecosystem in Catalonia.

International innovation programmes Catalonia Trade & Investment is committed to identifying the suppliers and technological partners that best fit your specific needs. Companies can access a grant programme for international R&D projects (Nuclis of Technological Innovation) that aims to boost collaboration between Catalan and foreign firms. Also, we deliver advice and training on how to present your project to the Horizon 2020 calls (the largest EU budget for research and innovation activities) together with a Catalan technological partner.

Innovate in Catalonia is straightforward but it gets even easier if you receive first-hand details on the local agents and how to get them to work for you and your investment.

​Tap into Catalan innovation with us.

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