Catalonia, leader in Business Innovation
Numerous reports and studies from institutions like the Mobile World Congress, l’Agència per la Competitivitat de l’Empresa (ACCIÓ) or the Fundación de Estudios de Economia Aplicada not only confirm that Catalans do something indeed, but that we do it quite well. So year after year Catalonia tops rankings on business’ innovation.
The report done by ACCIÓ is conclusive: “Catalonia leads in the number of innovative businesses in Spain, with 22% of the total. Catalonia leads in both product and business process innovation.” The above figures are not by accident but the result of a conscious and proactive support from both, industry as and the public administration, increasing growth by 10.7% from the previous three years as shown by the study.
Innovation that is always linked to investment in R&D, a key factor because one cannot understand one without the other, and here data also shows an increase of 2.4% in 2019 compared to the previous year, third year of continuous growth and the highest figure in the historical series although below the Spanish State (4.2%) and the European Union (4.5%).
There is no doubt that we Catalans have the talent, the science, the industrial fabric and the entrepreneurial spirit, but perhaps we lack a national strategy that knows how to coordinate academia with industry. We must be able to prevent the brain drain that we have worked so hard to train. And for that we need more funding.
Foreign investment and financing resources
According to data from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and the National Innovation Company (ENISA), 36% of Catalan small and medium-sized enterprises have received participative loans from the State, well above the Spanish average and at the top of the ranking by a considerable margin.
It should be noted that, by area of activity, SMEs in the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector account for the majority of this financing. A business fabric that seems to be immune to the pandemic and continues to grow with employment figures that are the envy of the sector.
This is confirmed by a study conducted by the economic studies office of the Cambra de Comerç de Barcelona and the Laboratorio de Transferencia de Análisis Cuantitativo Regional de la Universitat de Barcelona (AQR-Lab), which shows that the ICT sector employed 128,700 people in the third quarter of 2020, 19.1% more than in the same period of 2019 and an all-time high.
In terms of foreign investment, the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce confirms that Catalonia also leads in productive investment by asset value. These data are particularly significant because they are not based on quarterly or annual data prone to volatility, but on clean investment accumulated over periods of more than ten years and which, therefore, allow trends to be identified.
In short, all these reports, studies and analyses confirm that when it comes to innovation, it is not enough to do things, and do them well, but they must be accompanied by a vision of the country that supports them.
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