Barcelona is well known as one of Europe’s industrial powers. A city recognized for its dynamic and strong economy, Barcelona is also celebrated for its ability to reinvent itself in the face of new global challenges, which makes it a flagship of innovation at European and global level. Other media have in fact recently ranked it as the best city to visit in the world, highlighting its world-class architecture and thriving arts and culture scene, in addition to its undisputed position as a thriving economic and commercial hub.
To further strengthen Barcelona’s leading position as a hub of innovation, the city is committed to stepping up its already impressive digital efforts.
In the wake of the pandemic, we have recognized how technology can keep us informed and connected. To achieve this, the digital city model must facilitate telework, online training, e-health; it must also bring new thinking to the areas of personal mobility, the use of buildings and city centers, and have an attractive and digitized commercial offer.
Barcelona is often hailed as a global, open and connected city, well known for its ability to leverage technological and digital innovation to improve the city and the lives of those who live there. Unsurprisingly and according to Atomico European State of Technology 2021Barcelona is currently the seventh most attractive European city for investment in technology companies.
It is home to over 1,900 startups and has the most office space occupied by technology companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook or Oracle of any European city. In 2021, the Boston Consulting Group’s Decoding Global Talent Report ranked Barcelona sixth in number of startups and ninth in attracting talent.
In recent years, Barcelona has managed to position itself as one of the most important digital hubs in Europe. A new law on startups recently approved by the Spanish government introduces significant tax advantages for international professionals and companies wishing to set up in Spain. The government has also simplified visa applications and the process of obtaining residence permits for entrepreneurs and investors.
The Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation (MWCapital), a public-private initiative whose mission is to stimulate the digital development of society and improve people’s lives globally, plays a crucial role in the digitalization of city. With its support, Barcelona has hosted some of the best-known technology events in the world, including Mobile World Congress, Integrated Systems Europe, Puzzle X and Smart City Expo World Congress. It has also helped attract major infrastructure projects such as the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, the first quantum computer in southern Europe, and the Alba synchrotron, which will be the largest electron accelerator complex in the Mediterranean. . In addition, he has promoted programs such as the MWCapital Intelligent Connectivity program and the 5G Barcelona initiative, which has driven more than 25 pilot projects with 5G technology in the city, making Barcelona the 5G hub of southern Spain. Europe. Finally, MWCapital has an innovation program, The Collider, which in five years has made it possible to launch nearly 20 startups in health, energy and industry 4.0 in science and technology. Since 2021, the program has also supported food technology and new materials companies (Puzzle X). In the area of talent, the foundation is behind the Barcelona Digital Talent platform, which tackles the current digital talent gap to promote market competitiveness.
Barcelona has a strong international community which represents 21% of its population. To help attract foreign talent, Barcelona City Council has opened “The Welcome Desk”, a one-stop shop to help new residents organize their move: registering at the residence, schooling children or finding accommodation.
Barcelona’s plan for the next decade
Barcelona is working on the Barcelona Green Deal, a plan to lead Europe’s transition to a green, digital and fairer economy, in line with the goals included in the 2030 agenda set by the United Nations.
The Barcelona Green Deal responds to the city’s economic, urban development and social transformation needs with the aim that, by 2030, Barcelona will be among the most competitive, sustainable and equitable cities in the world. The city aims to consolidate its already diversified economy to continue to generate quality jobs and lead a successful digital transition, adapted to its objective in terms of sustainability and the challenges posed by climate change.
Under three axes — competitiveness, sustainability and equality — the city has drawn clear strategic lines to promote six major urban areas — Zona Franca; Montjuic; the city center; the [email protected] district; the Besos; and the new science and health hub — through seven key sectors of the city: the creative sector; the local economy; the visitor economy; industry 4.0; health; biodiversity; and the digital sector.