Barcelona - The Mediterranean Innovation Hub

In a global economic climate characterised by the current recession, Barcelona has held a solid international position and very strong brand recognition. Barcelona positions itself among the best cities for doing business. The city was ranked first in 2011, for the 14th year in a row, on the European cities monitor list of the best European cities for workers quality of life (Cushman & Wakefield).

Additionally, the publication Scorecard on Prosperity 2010 (Toronto Board of Trade) ranked Barcelona third in global prosperity, above metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Paris, Madrid, Seattle and Hong Kong.

The city is committed to energy savings and efficiency, with considerable municipal effort going to develop renewable energy and self-generation of electricity.

Investment management services in Barcelona

The area of economy, business and employment, part of Barcelona city council, promotes the increase of Barcelona's economic flows, exchanges and relations with the international community in order to boost our economy and business leadership.

We are responsible for the management of investments, setting up projects in the city and reinforcing economic foundations. This is done in order to attract new talent, renew business-oriented university models, improve investment schemes, and strengthen business financing and cooperation.

Tailor-made inbound investment special services are addressed to companies, investors, institutions and entrepreneurs, who wish to expand their businesses or presence in Barcelona.

Among many other free services, we provide key economic information, we organise customised business agendas with stakeholders, we walk you through the whole process of setting up and we connect you with business landing and support platforms that will secure a successful investment in Barcelona.

Leading centre of business services

Barcelona has the most diverse productive structure in all of Spain. In the distribution of value added by sector, the significance of business services and real estate agencies is noteworthy, making up nearly one fourth of the total (24.3%), followed by collective services (20.7%), industry (12.7%), retail and repairs (11.5%) and transport (9.6%).

Barcelona is the headquarters of 458,918 companies, 14% of the Spanish total. They are mainly SMEs (98%), characterised by their greater flexibility and ability to adapt to complex environments.

The rate of entrepreneurial activity (6.7%) is higher than that of countries with a long business tradition, such as Finland and Germany, and it is higher than the European (5.8%) and Spanish (5.1%) averages.

Business and investment opportunities in Barcelona

The Barcelona metropolitan area is developing seven million square metres of floor space for economic activities in strategic sectors. This space will be able to generate more than 200,000 new jobs, concentrated in the three areas of economic activity that make up the Barcelona economic triangle, which works as a catalyst for other projects in their surroundings and bring together the best business and investment opportunities in the knowledge economy:

  • [email protected] (Besòs) is the innovation district located in the centre of Barcelona, which is devoted to advanced services and knowledge-intensive activities linked to information and communication technology, media, medical technology, energy and design
  • Parc de l'Alba (Vallès) is one of the main hubs for sectors linked to science and technology with benchmark facilities like Creapolis, the Alba Synchrotron and the UAB Research Park
  • Delta BCN/BZ Barcelona Innovation Zone (Llobregat), located in one of the main industrial and logistics areas in Spain, focuses mainly on emerging sectors like aerospace, mobility, health, media, food and other advanced industries

Barcelona: a city open and connected with the world

Catalonia is home to the headquarters of over 3,400 foreign companies and received a gross total of €3,999.8m in direct foreign investment in 2010. In the same year, Catalan companies invested €2,164m abroad. Barcelona generates one fifth of the total Spanish exports and has maintained a volume of foreign sales equivalent to €37,979m in 2010.

In 2010, Barcelona airport was ranked tenth in terms of passenger volume, with a total of 29.3 million travelers and 34 different intercontinental routes. The Port of Barcelona was ranked the 12th most important European container port in 2009. The high-speed train (AVE) between Barcelona and Madrid recorded 2.6 million passengers in its second year of service.


Location: Spain
Area: 102.2km2
Population: 1.6 million (18.1% foreign population)
Climate: Mediterranean climate
Average monthly temperature: 18.1°C
Average annual rainfall: 549.6mm
Sunshine hours/year: 2,711.5
Number of companies: 458,918
Active population (work force): 1,014,109
FDI: €2,756,34m (Catalonia)
Exports: €34,927.25m (jan-nov 2010)
Imports: €49,258.15m (jan-nov 2010)

Contact Details

Area of Economy, Business and Employment
Barcelona City Council
Llacuna 162, 08018
+34 932 563 922

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