Barcelona is the third most preferred European city to launch a startup, according to a report on Europe’s tech scene by Atomico, one of Europe’s biggest venture capital firms. The report found that 437 businesses in Barcelona have received US$688 million in financial backing over the last five years, and ranked the city ahead of Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Munich and Milan, among other major tech hubs.
Barcelona currently boasts more than 1300 startups, plays host to renowned tech conferences and is a world-leading smart city. It offers a high-quality tech ecosystem with venture capitalists, tech companies, investors and conference events. In addition, Barcelona is an affordable place to live, with a pool of talent that compares well to other major European cities. It’s an ideal city to study business, particularly for anyone interested in entrepreneurship and innovation.
22@Barcelona Innovation District
Barcelona’s thriving tech scene has been a huge draw for startups and tech entrepreneurs for many years. Arguably, one could pinpoint this growth to the year 2000, when the Barcelona City Council approved an urban planning ordinance aimed at transforming the former manufacturing quarter of Poblenou into Barcelona’s tech and innovation district.
The result of this ordinance was 22@Barcelona, a 200-hectare neighborhood which is now home over 1,500 companies. They are organized into five knowledge-intensive clusters: information and computer technology (ICT), media, bio-medical, energy and design. Thousands of companies have passed through this district, including MediaPro, Microsoft, Sanofi-Aventis, Groupalia, Yahoo! Just last year alone more than 100 tech companies set up headquarters at 22@Barcelona, and these numbers are expected to grow in the coming years.
Barcelona’s Fintech Hub
Financial technology, also known as fintech, is an industry that uses technology to deliver financial services in an innovative way. In recent years, Barcelona has been attracting some of the most exciting fintech startups, leading in digital innovation, creating hundreds of jobs, and turning Barcelona into one of Europe’s biggest fintech hub. Companies such as Kantox, Verse and Strands, among many others, have established themselves in the city, and this emerging sector is attracting considerable seed money.
Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
The city also plays host to the Mobile World Congress, the largest mobile event in the world. The congress brings together innovation, cutting-edge technology and today’s most influential thinkers representing global mobile operators, device manufacturers and technology providers. Among other events, the congress offers guest speaker sessions covering key topics like artificial intelligence (AI), connectivity, security and privacy.
The E-Commerce Summit
The E-commerce Summit also comes to Barcelona annually. This exclusive, invite-only event where retailers and brands share knowledge and network with their peers. The next summit will focus on the European market and will follow three verticals: Fashion & Lifestyle, Home & Living and Food & Care. The top trending topics related to e-commerce will also be widely discussed by guest speakers.
Barcelona’s Fab Lab
Barcelona is also home to a Fab Lab and is the headquarters of the global coordination of the Fab Academy program. Forming a part of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, the Fab Academy, according to their website, is a “distributed platform of education and research.” The labs operate in a classroom setting where students “learn about the principles, applications and implications of digital manufacturing technology.”
As technology advances and the world becomes increasingly digitalized, EU Business School (EU) recognizes the importance of teaching students the key skills required to excel in a business world where entrepreneurship and innovation are ever more in demand. It offers several programs specifically tailored to address the growing demand for these skills, including a BA (Hons) in Digital Business, Design & Innovation as well as master’s and MBA programs in Entrepreneurship, among others.