Number of young entrepreneurs in Catalonia grows, matches European average

One in ten Catalans between 18 and 34 years of age is an entrepreneur, despite the obstacles in the business environment

The number of young entrepreneurs in Catalonia has grown, equalling the European average. In 2016 almost one in ten Catalans between 18 and 34 years of age was an entrepreneur. Specifically, 9.5% of young people were engaged in creating their own business, while the European average is 9.9%. Catalonia’s figure is more than three points above the Spanish average (6.2%).

Catalonia had not achieved such levels of entrepreneurship since 2007, a year before the start of the economic crisis, according to the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), presented this Wednesday at the BIZ Barcelona entrepreneurship fair.

The definition of "entrepreneur" in the GEM’s report includes all those aged 18 to 64 who own a business which is less than three and a half years old. Young entrepreneurs (the age group that has experienced the highest growth) includes all those entrepreneurs who are between 18 and 34 years of age.

One reason for the increase is the perception that there are opportunities for entrepreneurs in Catalonia, which has improved its ranking by four percentage points compared to last year. Nevertheless, Catalans still believe that opportunities are few and far between, leading to Catalonia scoring poorly in this section of the survey. Based on a score of 0 to 10, Catalans rate their possibilities of beginning a new business in the next six months as a 3 (last year Catalonia scored 2.6). Europe was also found lacking in this respect, though with a score of 4.

In fact, the GEM’s report shows that the conditions for entrepreneurship in Catalonia and the rest of Spain are less favourable than for Europe as a whole. The experts who were surveyed by the GEM rated the business environment as falling short in 9 out of a total of 12 areas. Those which received the lowest score are education and training in entrepreneurship at school, public policies related to bureaucracy and taxation, and access to funding.

On this point the director of GEM- Catalonia, Carlos Guallarte, believes that "plenty of money is available, but sometimes what’s lacking are quality projects" which makes it difficult to attract investors. Indeed, the report points out that a greater number of entrepreneurs does not necessarily mean all of the projects are of sufficient quality.

Growth in female entrepreneurship

The study also reveals that the average age of Catalan entrepreneurs is 39. Another notable factor is the growth in the number of female entrepreneurs. Although the percentage of female entrepreneurs in Catalonia (6%) is lower than male entrepreneurs (7.9%), it is clearly higher than in Spain (4.7%).

The study was based on a survey of 2,000 members of the general public and a detailed questionnaire completed by 36 experts. The data is comparable with the results obtained from Spain and Europe as a whole.

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