Catalonia is widely recognised as one of Europe's Choice locations to live and work in, while Barcelona is currently ranked as one of the top European cities to set up business.
A strategic location
Catalonia has a prime location on the shores of the Mediterranean, and excellent communications which make it an ideal crossroads between Europe, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East.
The port of Barcelona is the Mediterranean’s busiest port in terms of traffic and specialises in handling high added value goods given its outstanding land transport communications with the rest of Europe. With 2 million passengers it is also the Mediterranean’s number one cruise destination and ranked second worldwide.
Barcelona International Airport handles flights to 150 destinations in Europe, Africa, America and the Middle East. It is set to become a major international hub handling from 50 million up to 70 million passengers in the near future. The airport, also key cargo centre, was voted Top European Cargo Airport in 2009.
A place to live
Catalonia is a great place to enjoy life for both professionals and students alike. Its Mediterranean lifestyle and climate make it a modern and open city, receptive to creativity and innovation, full of opportunities for both work and leisure.
Barcelona is a cultural hub for the Mediterranean boasting top international music, cultural and sporting events. It is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with numerous attractions, exciting and welcoming to both visitors and new residents.
Catalonia welcomes over fifteen million tourists each year, a quarter of those visiting Spain - the world’s 3rd tourist destination. Barcelona, with five million foreign visitors, is Europe’s fourth most visited city and eleventh in the world.
A dynamic economy
Catalonia recently topped the rankings as the Region of Southern Europe with “the best economic prospects” in the the European Cities and Regions of the Future 2010/2011 poll run by fDi Magazine. Regions were judged by current climate for business, economic potential, human resources, infrastructures, investment incentives and quality of lifestyle, among others.
Catalonia boasts the highest GDP, greatest turnover and export earnings in Spain with 20% of the nation’s total. Catalan industry accounts for a quarter of its GAV as it remains at the forefront of efficiency, ability to diversify and compete in increasingly competitive markets.
In Europe, Catalonia is hub of high value added industries, especially for chemicals, pharma, packaging, agro-food, automobile and consumer electronics. A host of international companies have also chosen Catalonia as a base for such emerging technologies as: aeronautics, biotech, renewable energies and waste management. Catalonia is renowned worldwide for its design flair, R&D and engineering, due in large part to its drive to innovate and advance.
Catalonia offers a broad range of suppliers, a skilled workforce, outsourcing potential, as well as efficient service companies, and not least, highly competitive rates for labour, energy and transportation. Services for enterprise, whether trading, energy, transport, ICTs or finance are expanding fast in Catalonia and, added to traditional industry,make up two thirds of Catalan GDP, accounting for over half its workforce. Barcelona itself is now a major pole of attraction for the health and social services, ICT, media, audio-visual, logistics, tourism and educational sectors, not least due to competitive property rental and labour rates
One fifth of manufacturing businesses in Catalonia are engaged in exporting their products. Some 36% of Spanish exporters are located in Catalonia. Catalan exports account for almost 30% of Spanish exports. Around three-quarters of exports currently head to the EU with 60% of imports coming from the Union.
Foreign direct investment
Catalonia has traditionally been a choice destination for foreign direct investment. There are currently over 3,300 overseas companies operating in Catalonia and more than 5,500 companies established in Catalonia have international interest in their share capital. There are ongoing investments in industry (agro-food, chemicals, automobile, engineering, pharma-biotech, etc.) and areas such as R+D, design, logistics and shared services which, in addition to other services to business, operate at an international level.
Innovation and technology
Catalonia is Spain’s major science laboratory. Dedicating over 1.5% of GDP to R&D, its output is a quarter of the nation’s total, and nearly 1% of world production - on a par with Finland and Scotland.
Knowledge-intensive sectors include the pharma, biotech, biomedicine and medical technologies industries, ICTs, multimedia and audiovisual production.
Catalonia has a solid international reputation as being a leading light in the world of Medical research. Catalonia has a network of 215 hospitals, six of which are among the most efficient in Spain in terms of research output with close ties among universities, medical facilities and top science ad technology parks.
Catalonia’s extensive scientific infrastructures include the Synchrotron ALBA (Southern Europe’s first particle accelerator), MareNostrum: (Spain’s most powerful supercomputer and one of the most powerful in Europe), IDIADA, which develops products for the automobile industry, and the National Microelectronics Centre: Spain's largest public microelectronics facility.
Talent and creativity
Catalan society is well known for its talent and creativity. In Catalonia, design is a high-profile activity with close links to technology, communications, culture and the economy. Areas such as; graphic design, industrial design, trade, architecture, fashion, etc., all exhibit this distinctive culture.
Catalan society is also entrepreneurial, innovative and industrious. Its people are known for their no-nonsense approach to work, seriousness and commitment to excellence, as well as, motivation, honesty and drive. Values such as cooperation and team work, foresight, flexibility and the ability to predict changes and adapt accordingly are at the heart of Catalan labour practices.
Many Catalan professionals work for recognised international institutions in fields as diverse as medicine, science, research, and economics, among others.
Universities and business schools
Catalonia has 12 universities currently offering 400 courses to over 200,000 students, with a further 4,000 studying as post graduates. There are also 17 international primary and secondary schools in Catalonia offering the education syllabuses of their respective countries.
Ranked second on the Economist's list of business schools recently, The IESE Business School in Barcelona, with over 600 students enrolled, some 60% from overseas, is now one of the world’s most prestigious business learning institutes. ESADE and ESADE Creapolis is ranked among the top ten business schools to do an MBA outside of the US and has been voted Europe’s top business institute for the last three years by Business Week and named Wall Street Journal’s Best Business School in 2006 and 2007. Every year over 3,000 organisations worldwide look to ESADE to recruit professionals.
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