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Barcelona Activa: more than 30 years promoting entrepreneurship

Barcelona Activa: more than 30 years promoting entrepreneurship

Barcelona Activa startup

We visited one of the pioneering entities in promoting this type of activity in the city

Glovo, Privalia, Travel Perk, Byhours, Social Point… Barcelona ha visto nacer muchas startups que se han convertido en casos de éxito.

The city is strong on the startup scene and has managed to carve out a niche for itself among the dynamic European capitals that are most attractive to entrepreneurs. Barcelona, with more than 1,000 startups, is considered the fifth European hub for startups. To achieve this position, the city has developed an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is supported by both public and private sector bodies.

Barcelona Activa has long supported entrepreneurs in the city. Created by the Barcelona City Council more than 30 years ago, when the terms “startup”, “venture capital” and “fintech” were not yet part of our vocabulary, the body offered pioneering support for the city's entrepreneurial activity. Its underlying conviction was that any person with a good, solid business idea should have the chance to develop it.

The body works to make Barcelona a beacon for international talent by promoting its economic competitiveness and supporting a diverse and sustainable business community. The main objectives of Barcelona Activa are to boost economic development through public-private collaboration, increase professional opportunities for citizens, and promote innovation and talent in Barcelona so as to grow the city's business network. With its help, it has managed to reach thousands of entrepreneurs who are keen to live and work in Barcelona. Companies like Tiendeo or Holaluz, for example, started out with the help of Barcelona Activa.

In its 30 years of existence, Barcelona Activa has grown considerably and now it offers a wide range of services, with areas ranging from employment and training for entrepreneurs and companies through to socio-economic innovation and locally-based development. In fact, Barcelona Activa offers a comprehensive range of services: professional advice and guidance, employment training and coaching programs, certificates of professsionalism, entrepreneurship programs with information sessions, technical advice, startup programs, mentoring programs, and many more.

The work of Barcelona Activa during the pandemic

Through the promotion of a public-private partnership, Barcelona Activa is carrying out various projects and initiatives that are aimed at reactivating social, solidarity and local economies. With the aim of providing Barcelona's professionals with all the tools needed to take on the coronavirus crisis, Barcelona Activa has taken steps to make it easier for the self-employed to access credit and use the free business and self-employed helpline telephone that was ramped up during the Covid-19 lockdown period. This phone line has already served more people than in 2019, and after three months was serving five times more people than previously. In the Covid-19 era, Barcelona Activa has promoted initiatives to support and advise companies. These include a local network for the production of masks, extending lines of credit, and creating the BCN Safe City service in the tourism sector.

“Barcelona Activa ha fomentado iniciativas como ampliar líneas de crédito para autónomos o crear un servicio para acompañar y asesorar a las empresas del sector turístico.”

Barcelona Activa is located in Poble Nou, the city's innovation district, which is considered to be the ideal location for startups in Barcelona and is also home to a technological innovation cluster comprising the main technology consultancy firms, startups, and research and development centers.

Barcelona Activa’s main headquarters is the Centre for Entrepreneurship in Glòries, although it has facilities spread throughout the city. The municipal body also has a wide range of spaces in the Poble Nou area where advice and support services are available for companies, entrepreneurs and startups. These include the Glòries Business Incubator, the MediaTIC Incubator (located in the unique MediaTic building in the Sant Martí district), the InnoBadora incubation community, and the Parc Tecnològic. These innovation centers were created with the aim of making Barcelona a leading center for technology, innovation and knowledge ensuring Barcelona’s place as a European hub for entrepreneurship, and encouraging the development of the city's business and entrepreneurial community.

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