The Mobile World Congress is the tip of a technological iceberg installed in Barcelona. Today, the technology sector has 160,000 employees, both direct and indirect, and has positioned Barcelona as the third-largest technology cluster in Europe.
Is Barcelona only the Mobile?
During its short four-day duration, the Mobile brings more than 100,000 professional visitors to the Catalan capital, as well as playing a key role in forging relationships between technology companies in the city. It is important to note, however, that the imprint of the technology sector in Barcelona does not end here: on the contrary, it is only the beginning.
Digital and innovation cluster in Europe
Today, Barcelona has effectively positioned itself as one of the most attractive cities on the continent for professionals in the technology sector and emerging companies. According to the Startup Heatmap Europe report, the city of Barcelona is 3rd in the ranking of best-positioned hubs in Europe to host startups, being chosen by 17% of founders of emerging European companies.
This privileged position has allowed the city to attract many investors in recent years, as well as having seen the birth of up to three local unicorns (companies valued at more than 1 billion euros) — Glovo, Letgo, and eDreams — has also attracted seven unicorns of foreign origin in the process of digital transformation of the city : N26, Globant, Checkout, Bitpanda, Deliveroo, Revolut, and Global Switch.
This injection of foreign capital and talent is also reflected in the number of workers attracted by the rise of this sector: more than 80,000 employees directly, and a similar amount indirectly. In addition, this type of jobs tend to be better paid, thus increasing the purchasing power of the Catalan capital. It can be said, therefore, that Barcelona is of paramount importance in the field of technology and the recruitment of professional talent on the continent.
[email protected] or how to turn an industrial district into a cradle of innovation in the city
Having gained this competitive advantage over other cities with more population or more economic weight has not been easy, and we could say that it was mainly due to the existence of some key features, including agreements between public and private institutions in order to jointly promote Barcelona in the world, carrying out common projects to improve its competitiveness on a global scale.
Specifically, one of the projects that has contributed most in this regard has been the creation of [email protected]: a district located in the old industrial neighbourhoods of Poblenou, which was disused since the transfer of many factories outside Barcelona starting at the end of the twentieth century.
The aim of this project was to convert the disused spaces occupied by the old factories into a neighbourhood of technological and digital vocation, adapting the typical industrial neighbourhood from the past to the new 21st century, a clear example of adaptation to the new era.
The effects of [email protected] are completely visible: more than 90,000 highly-qualified people work together every day in one of the 10,000 companies that have been attracted by the potential of the neighbourhood, from small emerging companies to large multinationals, generating synergies between the different sectors present in the district, especially in the field of digitisation and culture.
Barcelona, city of the future
In short, we can say that Barcelona is very well positioned to attract international talent, at a key moment in which the digital transformation sector is expected to play a very important role in the economy and will continue to grow at a frantic pace.
The city of Barcelona must be clear about its objectives and take advantage of all the resources at its disposal in order to be able to link the international promotion of Barcelona as a technology hub with a sustainable and efficient city model, in order to improve the quality of life of residents while positioning itself in the world as a city of the future.