Hangout #6: “Barcelona as a motor of innovation”
Creating an entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Mobile World Capital
Following the recent success of the World Mobile Congress, with a record 93,000 visitors, and the participation of 8,000 businesspeople and investors in the 4 Years From Now startup event – both held in Barcelona – different actors from these sectors discussed the situation of Barcelona and Catalonia as an engine for innovation and their appeal to new firms via a Google+ Hangout.
The hangout was moderated by the journalist Teresa Turiera, and participants included: Laurence Mourasse, general manager of the Mobile World Capital; Mike Chen, founder of Swell, an international firm which invests in and helps to facilitate startups; and Pere Vallès, managing director of Scytel, a Catalan company at the forefront of developing electronic voting systems, which currently works in 36 countries.
Laurence Mourasse, who participated in 2011 in the decision to choose Barcelona as the world mobile phone capital, explained the reasons behind this decision - “we saw Barcelona had a real programme and project for its future in terms of public-private partnerships, and it was investing particularly in talent and knowledge; there are some very good R&D centres in Barcelona; the quality of life; and also Barcelona is a city where operators have invested heavily in 4G network. It’s a great place - small enough but big enough to really bring an ecosystem of innovation together.”
The expert in getting start-ups up and running, Mike Chen, added, “Barcelona has a great appeal for investors, large firms, and entrepreneurs, though there should be more fusions, partnerships and acquisitions of smaller firms for the best startups to grow and have a global impact.”
Pere Vallès, managing director of Scytel pointed out that, “over the last five years there has been a change in universities which now offer their research capacities and students to the private sector.” He went on to say that, “the new immigration law has made it easier to attract specialized engineers from outside the European Union with little bureaucracy” and added that Barcelona itself has always been an attractive city to come to.
Vallès insisted, though, that “to develop a better startup ecosystem, there should be a better tax treatment for stock options, which are an important part of the package for startup companies [...] and you must be prepared to not penalize failure so much, as this also forms part of the process of innovation and progress of companies.”
It was also possible to follow the Google+ Hangout via Twitter using the hashtag #CataloniaInnovates.
Diplocat regularly uses the Google+ Hangout tool to organize online discussions with the aim of exploring topics with experts from different sectors and fields related to public diplomacy and the international promotion of Catalonia.
Last updated: 7 October 2015