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Starting a Business in Spain

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Starting a Business in Spain

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Spain related forum posts

 

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Why Start a Business in Spain?

As a well developed, competitive market, you can be sure that anything sold in the UK is likely to sell well in Spain.

The Spanish government has been dedicated to relaxing the Spanish market is committed to an extensive privatisation programme. Spain, therefore, can provide many opportunities to the British exporter and businessperson across a wide range of areas.

Most Spanish business opportunities stereotypically involve buying a bar or club, and this because many investors wanting to set up will not be fluent in the language. Therefore, they invariably look for a business that will offer a service to tourists who commonly speak English in Spain. Most other popular businesses in Spain include buying a property and making it available to guests and tourists. Restaurants are also a popular and lucrative trade.

However, this is a rather antiquated and narrow way of thinking. The steady increase of younger people relocating to Spain from other areas of Europe has led to a whole host of new business opportunities. These include estate agencies, furniture shops, English supermarkets/stores, computer repair shops, bookstores, toyshops, and countless more.

Additionally, you can capitalise on market gaps with new ventures that have been set up successfully in places like the UK and America, but have yet to be applied or introduced to Spain. If you are shrewd and choose the right market, you could find yourself with little competition. It doesn't take Alan Sugar to work out that a popular product in America and Northern Europe should be easily marketable in Spain.

What is the currency?

Spain, along with its fellow EU members, uses the Euro.

What is the population?

The population of Spain is  47.29 million.

How is the weather/climate?

Spain's geographical position and varying altitudes means the climate is very diverse. However, it can be divided into three areas:

Mediterranean Spain has high levels of sunshine, from 6 hours-a-day in the winter to 12 hours-a-day in summer. Winters are mild; much warmer than central Spain. Rain is rare from June to August, though the northern Mediterranean coast is known occasional downpour.

Central Spain and the Southern Atlantic coast have a commonly low rainfall, though winter snow can be heavy on the sierras. Summers are very hot, especially from Northern Andalucia to Seville where some of the highest temperatures are recorded. Sunshine levels average 5 hours-a-day in winter and 12 hours-a-day in summer

North and North West Spain can be influenced by depressions from the Atlantic, particularly in the autumn and winter, making this the wettest and cloudiest part of Spain. Sunshine levels average 3 hours-a-day during the winter and 8 hours-a-day in the summer. Summer temperatures are lower than other parts of Spain but with much warm and sunny weather

What is the time difference?

The time in Spain is GMT + 1

What are the languages of Spain?

The most prominent of the language of Spain is, unsurprisingly, Spanish, which nearly everyone can speak as either first or second language. Other languages/dialects feature prominently in specific regions: Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Aranese.

Spanish is official throughout the country; the rest of these have co-official status in their respective regions.

Economic Overview

Spain is the eighth largest economy in the world, although is not a member of the Group-of-Eight (G8) industrial nations. Inflation has been a steady 3.5 - 4% over the past few years.

Spain has a thriving economy, with its main industries being tourism, metal and metal manufacture, textiles, clothing and apparel, food and drink, chemicals, ship-building, machine tools, automobiles, electronics.

Spain's main exports are:

  • Machinery
  • Chemicals
  • Motor vehicles
  • Electronic devices
  • Foodstuffs
  • Other consumer goods

Spain's main imports are:

  • Fuels
  • Chemicals
  • Industrial equipment
  • Semi-finished goods
  • Foodstuffs

The Spanish banking system has been attributed as one of the most robust and well-equipped to handle the worldwide liquidity crisis. This is a result of excellent banking rule and practice.

What are the essentials to know?

Foreign investors must be aware of the applicable EU Laws.

Foreign investors are free to adopt any form of business investment, and may acquire a stake in or take control of a company which has already been set up.

The Gestor

The job of the gestor is unique to Spain. He or she is an agent who can carry out standard bureaucratic procedures for you due to their thorough knowledge of Spanish bureaucracy. The gestor is comparable to a lawyer and, for a usually reasonable fee, will take and complete your paperwork with minimum stress to you.

Although you can probably do most of this work, a gestor can be employed if you are struggling for time or are baffled by bureaucratic procedures. However, do not expect immediate results and always request an estimate of costs before employing a gestor's services. It is not uncommon for a gestor to require a deposit.

Finance and incentives

Spain has an admirable banking and financial industry. In fact, it has the largest quantity of banks in the EU. Many of the international banks, accountants and insurance companies have set up in Spain. Spanish banks have an intimate relationship with industry, and the Spanish venture capital market is generally dictated by government agencies and private banks.

There are various bursaries and other incentives that promote investment in specific industries and regions of Spain, and a plethora of EU incentives and subsidies are also available. Industries using incentives include agriculture, energy, mining, technological research, and development

Representatives and communication

Dependent on the nature of your business or investment, the Spanish generally enjoy dealing with someone who they can form a good business relationship with. Communication and interpersonal skills are therefore paramount, as well as the ability to be enthused about a product or service. Knowledge of the language is essential, and for this reason it would be advisable to employ a national or a translator.

Labour and workforce

Recruitment

There are various rules and laws overseeing employment in Spain, but, in general, recruitment does not pose a problem. Spain has a well-educated, talented and dextrous workforce. Recruitment and staffing agencies are very well-established across the nation and are proliferating rapidly. Commercial sections of the various posts in Spain can provide lists of agencies free of charge. Regardless of the 10% unemployment rate, some areas (such as agriculture and construction) have experienced a shortage in workforce. The national minimum wage in Spain is currently 600 Euros a month.

It is more-than-likely you will need to employ workers for your business venture in Spain. If so, you will need to register with the Social Security General Treasury. Thereafter, you will have 10 working days to enrol their contract with the Spanish Institute of Employment.

It is illegal to employ someone without contract or social security; you may even be fined by labour inspectors for unregistered workers. It is important to remember that workers in Spain (Spanish or immigrants) are eligible for all the benefits provided by the labour legislation, such as maternity leave, working conditions, etc.

Government sponsorship and subsidies

The Spanish government gives incentives to promote: the creation of industrial estates; innovation; advancement in technology; research; development; and job creation. Spanish and foreign-owned companies, as well as individuals willing to set up their own company in Spain, may receive these subsidies.

Dependent on the exact nature of your business, there may be a variety of help and bursaries available to you.

Taxis - Only use taxis that display a special licence. The cabs are of a very high standard and ruled by strict legislation. They display a green light when they are free for business. It is fine to flag them down or they can be found at a taxi rank. They are metered, and gratuity is a customary 10%.

Etiquette

There isn't a great deal of social blunder to be made in Spain, but here are a few pointers about the social culture:

  • Time is very relaxed. It is wise for foreigners to be punctual, but Spaniards do not put a great emphasis on time themselves
  • Do not become overly concerned if the deadline is not attained. Spaniards will meet deadlines and objectives that are viable
  • Be prepared for disorganised business negotiations. Often, many people will be speaking simultaneously
  • Business cards should be two-sided; one side written in English, the other in Spanish
  • Dinner is usually served after 2100, so you may want to take full advantage of the siesta by sleeping or eating
  • The Spanish dress is more formal than the most of Europe. In Spain, like Italy, it is important to project good taste in clothing
  • Business attire includes well-made, conservative suits and ties. Avoid flashy colours; it is not popular to stand out

Click here to Ask an Expert about Starting a Business in Spain

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