When looking into foreign markets, it is always important to get a feel for the potential success if you wish to become established. For the United States, countries all over the world look to trade and invest with us through the amount of resources we offer, the strength of the dollar, and our importance on the world stage. Therefore, when we from the United States are looking to further expand and invest in foreign opportunities, research must be established in order to maintain the same quality and protocol are taken into account. This is the standard set for looking at Business in Barcelona.
In first logging onto the website given, the question pops up, “Why Barcelona?” A viable question at the very least, but also an intriguing offer to discover what helps the Second Most Populous City in Spain stand out. The list I have compiled analyzes all of the tools given, and has looked to see what would present the strongest reasoning for an individual in the US to invest or partake in business.
Top 10 Reasons to Invest in Barcelona
- Location – Barcelona is the southern gateway to Europe, the centre of an emerging economic Eurozone, the Mediterranean capital, a bridge to the Maghreb and a platform for links to Latin America.
- Well Connected – Barcelona is the only city in southern Europe that combines one of the biggest ports in the Mediterranean with a high-speed train station, an international airport, motorways that connect to the European network, the second biggest amusement park in Europe, and one of the most important logistical areas in the southern continent.
- Previous Successful Foreign Investment – Ninety per cent of the 5,000 foreign companies in Catalonia are in the Barcelona area and more than half of the companies in Spain are in Catalonia. These companies are mainly Japanese, Italian, North American, French, Austrian and Swiss.
- Top Quality of Life – According to the 2011 European Cities Monitor, Barcelona is the European city with the best quality of life for employees, a position it has held for the last 14 years.
- Numbers – Barcelona has a population of more than 1.5 million, and 5 million people live in the metropolitan area. There are over 400,000 companies in the Barcelona region and an average of 7 million tourists visit the city each year.
- Innovation – Barcelona is the Mobile World Capital, the global benchmark city for innovation and talent in the field of mobile phones, and each year it organises the GSMA Mobile World Congress, which brings together over 70,000 professionals in the sector.
- Center for Research – Barcelona is a leading city in the study of clinical and human health, home to 90 research centres with more than 400 established working groups in the life sciences and excelling in areas such as oncology, bio-nanomedicine and cardiovascular diseases.
- Equality – Fostering of diversity and inclusion, through initiatives like The School for Women Entrepreneurs, with over twenty years of experience in supporting women entrepreneurs, offering advice, professional training and networking opportunities.
- City Promotion – strategic guidance to the project to align it with the city’s overall strategy and supports the search for the most appropriate internal and external stakeholders for connecting to the project.
- Magnet for Talent – Barcelona has well-trained human capital that fosters innovation and creativity. 48% of the city’s labour force works in knowledge-intensive services with an array of specialists in different fields.
Looking at these benefits allows a possible investor to discover the reasons so many other countries and partnerships have developed in Barcelona. Promoting a modernizing city with strategic goals, in a prime location, has kept the city ahead of others inland and further from the Mediterranean. However, when analyzing this data it is important to understand this is only one website, which spends money to promote the best parts of Barcelona. While statistics may be impressive and there are several aspects rightfully attributed to the city, it is important to understand both the Pros and Cons when evaluating whether or not to invest in a new, foreign territory.
For starters, the recent upheaval between the governments of Catalonia and Spain have not been an encouraging matter. When entering into a new territory, one of the most important aspects is understanding the political governance, and whether or not it is in a current state of unrest. As Forbes points out in their Oct 2 Article, “The net effect on the euro is negative” and when looking at a larger market perspective, “if the rejected referendum emboldens people in favor of it to continue with generalized strikes in one of Spain’s most important cities — Barcelona — it could very easily hurt sentiment.” This could detract not only additional investors, but large amounts of tourists and citizens fleeing to safer locations. Referring to recent sanctions between the “separate governances,” Neil McKinnon, a senior economist in London, points out that “Brexit might actually now be the least of the European Union’s problems now.”
In another article by CNBC, writer Sofia Bosch points out that “As the most prosperous of Spain’s 17 regions, Catalonia houses roughly 19 percent of Spain’s economy, benefiting from tourism, exports, manufacturing, and industry.” If the country were to declare independence, short-term outcomes would result in “a loss of jobs, income and wealth for everybody, whether they live in Catalonia or in the rest of Spain,” according to Alain Cuenca, an economics professor at the University of Zaragoza. Looking closer towards direct effects on Barcelona, Catalans supply approximately 20% of the GDP for Spain, but also rely on Spain for 35.5% of their exports. Not only would Catalonia need to make up in production exported, but also need to institute a new pay structure, which carry a large price tag. In addition, Barcelona and Catalonia would then have to look outside the EU for assistance, as “independence from Spain means independence from the EU.” Therefore, the possibility of risk may outweigh the potential benefit, and the US would decide its smarter to remain outside.
Executive Summary – BELFOR
Over the past 10 years, the United States has seen unprecedented weather changes like never before. Hurricanes which blew out entire cities, floods which keep rising higher and expanding further, and even local instances which devastate small communities. FEMA has often had the backs of many of these individuals, but when the federal spending runs out or an event appears too catastrophic, it can be a while before relief is given. Belfor, a disaster and property recovery company positions itself to “respond to almost any disaster – large or small – coast to coast.” The brand prides itself on a “proven track record of superior response and unmatched resources has made BELFOR the contractor of choice for damages caused by fire, water, wind or other catastrophes.” While the company is beginning to expand internationally, it has maintained a steady basis within North America. Looking at Barcelona being a port city and susceptible to flooding and other natural disasters, Belfor could potentially succeed in Barcelona.
Barcelona, located on the Mediterranean, enjoys mild winters and warm summers throughout the year. The near 5 Million citizens in the urban area compromise the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea, located on the coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs. The city has approximately 55 days of precipitation each year, with occasional thunderstorms, fog and wind. Therefore, since there doesn’t appear an imminent threat, how would Belfor succeed? Location, location, location. With ocean levels rising approximately 3-4 mm every year, and continuing due to climate change and rising temperatures, it is only a matter of time before a flood could destroy large parts of the city. Looking to a city struck by rising sea level nearby, Venice has suffered immensely in recent years to relive itself after years of flooding.
High water may not appear an imminent threat now, but a storm can come in at any time, and there is no way to avoid it. Belfor, seeing such a succesptible environment may be able to assist in maintaining calm after the storm. With such high City Promotion and Innovation, Belfor could even expand some of its current databases and establish new technology. With Barcelona being a high center for research and development, new engineering and technological tools could assist the city in preparing for such an event, and keep damage as minimal as possible.
Furthermore, the area has previously experienced flash flooding, amounting to widespread states of emergency. Being that there are millions who would be affected from such an event, Belfor could serve as an aid where many similar services have overlooked. Establishing a base now would allow Belfor to become acquainted within the area, prepare for changes in climate, and adjust their research in specific parts of the city. In addition, with such a high Quality of Life among citizens, Belfor could ensure that despite such an event occurring at anytime to anyone, relief will be there and help citizens get back to their lives.
Belfor Property Restoration. http://www.belfor.com/en/us/red-alert-program-old.
Bosch, Sofia. “Spain’s Economy Losing Catalonia Would Be like the US Losing California and Florida Combined.” CNBC, CNBC, 2 Oct. 2017, http://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/21/heres-how-bad-economically-a-spain-catalonia-split-could-really-be.html.
“Climate Science Glossary.” Skeptical Science, skepticalscience.com/sea-level-rise-intermediate.htm.
Rapoza, Kenneth. “What Investors May Be Missing From Spain’s Catalonia Problem.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 9 Oct. 2017, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2017/10/02/what-investors-may-be-missing-from-weekend-in-spain/#537b7e5832de.