Self-employed in Spain: six must-visit websites to apply for grants and benefits

Self-employed in Spain: six must-visit websites to apply for grants and benefits
Many self-employed workers and SMEs have had to request government aid during the pandemic. Photo: José Jordan/AFP
Being autónomo in Spain has always been a tough gig, but the pandemic has tightened the screw for many more self-employed. Here are six websites through which SMEs and autónomos can get financing and government aid.  

Self-employed workers in Spain pay one of the highest monthly contribution rates in Europe, tend to receive state protection later than salaried workers and have to deal with complex bureaucratic processes throughout their careers. 

But whether through preference or necessity, around 3.2 million people in Spain are registered as self-employed. 

The fallout from the pandemic, spiralling energy costs and a higher consumer price index have contributed to making this year particularly hard for many autónomos

Fortunately, the benefits struggling self-employed workers have had access to during the pandemic have been extended until February 2022, and Spain is also set to receive €3 billion in EU funds for the digitization of businesses early next year.

So now is a particularly good time for self-employed workers in Spain to familiarise themselves with where they can claim grants and other aid from the Spanish government and other institutions.  

Here are six public organisations that offer grants and other financial incentives to self-employed people in Spain, some of which many foreign autónomos may never have heard of before.

If you have a gestor in Spain, you may want to run over these options with them in case they can advise you on the application process.

Ipyme 

This website belonging to Spain’s Ministry of Industry provides small and medium enterprises with information on the latest subsidies made available to them.

Click on the category Financiación, then scroll down and click on Ayudas e incentivos nacionales, where you’ll be directed to a search bar in which you’ll have to type your field of work to find available grants. 

SEPE 

Spain’s Public Employment Service (SEPE) is the state body that’s been charged with handling the country’s furlough scheme during the pandemic. 

Since 2014, Spain allows people claiming unemployment benefits to continue doing so whilst registering as self-employed and starting up their own business. 

There are also benefits and subsidies published on their website, with the English-language version again including some wonky translations.

Spain’s National Subsidy Publication System

Another portal in which to find government aid and subsidies for autónomos in Spain is the website of El Sistema Nacional de Publicidad de Subvenciones.

It’s here where you’ll be able to find the latest convocatorias, the announcement that public aid has been made available for a certain period.

As is often the case with Spanish government websites, it’s not the most user-friendly, but luckily there is an English-language search engine which isn’t perfectly translated but may help some of you. 

ICO

Spain’s Official Credit Institute, El Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO), is an organisation through which self-employed workers can request guarantees, loans and social bonds to boost their business.

ICO loans can be used to pay wages, utility bills, rental costs, to have circulating capital or pay taxes and meet other payment obligations. 

To apply for any of these, self-employed workers have to present a written document explaining the reasons for their request at one of the banks associated with ICO, which you can find out more about here

Foreign companies can also apply for ICO loans and other services.

Spain’s Chamber of Commerce 

The Cámara de Comercio offers new entrepreneurs and self-employed workers in Spain the chance to find grants with which to start a business, update their business as well as training courses for themselves or their employees. Here is the English-language version

You should also check the website of your region’s chamber of commerce as they may offer other incentives for businesses and autónomos.

Spanish Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs

The website of La Confederación Española de Jóvenes Empresarios (CEAJE) is as the name suggests aimed at self-employed workers in the country under the age of 41.

CEAJE offers its members free financial consultancy services and a handy comparison of all the grants and incentives available to younger autónomos. Even though it’s only in Spanish, their website contains a lot of useful information.

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