• Spain's news in English

Madrid and Barcelona rank among top 15 startup cities across Europe

Emma Anderson · 21 Oct 2015, 15:31

Published: 21 Oct 2015 15:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Oct 2015 15:31 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
But the limited skills of their workforce seem to be holding them back from being on par with tech hubs like London and Stockholm.

Madrid ranked 12th place while Barcelona came in 14th in the European Digital City Index of startups released on Wednesday.

The index released on Wednesday was created by UK-based innovation charity Nesta as part of the European Digital Forum. The index rates cities by how well they create a supportive environment for digital companies, from local business regulations to available financing to the skill level of the workforce.

"There is some good-natured rivalry between Madrid and Barcelona concerning which is best for startups," the study states, noting that Barcelona was named a "front-runner" in a separate ranking of entrepreneurship and innovation by Nesta.

"However, despite a highly-supportive policy environment... in our ranking, Barcelona scores slightly lower of the two."

London topped the charts for both startups and "scaleups" - the next step after the startup phase, where a company has figured out a good business model and wants to expand.

In second place for startups was Amsterdam, while Stockholm took second prize for scaleups.

Top 15 European cities for startups and scaleups

Source: European Digital City Index 2015.

Spain’s two largest cities both ranked relatively low in terms of the skills of their workforce, particularly in how many people can speak English. Madrid was rated the worst out of 35 European cities while Barcelona came in 32nd place for English language abilities.

"Madrid's overall ranking could be improved by increasing English language skills and improving access to financial resources," the report states.

"English skills were included since, like it or not, 'English is the language of the internet': it is by far the most commonly found language on webpages," the report added. “Moreover, many European startups look towards the US for their customers or investors; even if this is not the case, it is clear that the ability to market oneself in English helps in selling across borders.”

Still, both Madrid and Barcelona were praised for their business and entrepreneurial environments, boosted by city governments that support startup growth.

Madrid is a "friendly city with a strong sense of community among its startups," and Barcelona’s city hall programmes help startups to "seed funding to set up their business", the report states.

In particular, the report highlighted Madrid’s recent South Summit startup fest and Barcelona’s government-funded programme to support entrepreneurs, Barcelona Activa.

The report did warn that certain countrywide policies could hinder the growth of startups.

"Tax incentives are regularly described as too opaque, and there is some concern that new laws would penalise startups looking to move out of Spain, which could severely hamper growth," the report states.

The cities ranked at the bottom of the index for startups were Bulgarian capital Sofia (33), Athens (34) and Maltese capital Valletta (35).

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Emma Anderson (emma.anderson@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain’s Socialists meet to decide on veto
The Socialists are meeting Saturday to decide on whether to lift a veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists gather Sunday for a crunch strategy meeting expected to see the party lift its veto on a minority conservative government and finally unblock the country's ten-month political deadlock.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available