The general secretary of the Catalan Ministry for Enterprise and Knowledge, Marta Felip, presided last Wednesday at the Espai Movistar in Barcelona the launching of the project START EASY, a project that is part of the 4th call of the Interreg Europe program.

The conference, entitled "Catalan Start-up Ecosystem: Challenges and Opportunities", marked the starting point for the START EASY project. It is an initiative led by the Government of Catalonia, through the Department of Enterprise and Knowledge of the Office of Business Management (OGE), within the framework of its policy of support for the creation of companies almost the momentum of economic activity, alongside with its seven European partners.

The purpose of the START-EASY project is to formulate public policies that will provide intelligent tools allowing a positive environment for the creation of companies. Throughout the time, the project wants to overcome the main challenges identified in Europe as they are difficult and costly to process the administration that regulates the creation of companies (that tends to discover the business activity), the limited capacity of response of the public administration in front of the new initiatives or new typologies of companies, that needs the digitalisation of the public services, the management of data from the principles "once", and the putting in operation of the frontal models like the One Stop Shops (OSS).

The European grant is for a total of EUR 1,592,641.00. In addition to the Generalitat de Catalunya (as the main partner), the project involves also the Metropolitan City of Bologna (Italy), the Lithuania Innovation Center (Lithuania), the Lublin Science and Technology Park (Poland), the Council Economic East. Flanders (Belgium), the Mazovia Development Agency (Poland), the Directorate General for Enterprise (France), and the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Latvia (Latvia).

“How to make the Catalan Startup ecosystem more competitive?”

Catalonia has an startup ecosystem that needs to be further developed to take on better international positions and be more attractive to attract talent. For this purpose, entrepreneurs and investors detect that there are still some barriers to overcome. Among the main ones: taxation and regulation. It would be necessary, they assure, to define a Catalan model of startups that would be the base to define with better and more coherence public policies that benefit their development in a more and more competitive field in a changing environment at striking levels. During the round table “How to make the Catalan ecosystem of startups even more competitive” these needs have been detected and a clear message has been issued to the administrations that participate in it.

With the participation of startups (Housfy and Getaround), a venture capital (Nekko Capital) and a private organization promoting Barcelona’s ecosystem (BCN Tech Capital), the round table was a good way for the partners to understand some of the obstacles that both startups and investors find in their path to success.

A new social class

Speakers and attendees had a prior lecture by a digital expert, Aleix Valls, CEO and co-founder of LiquiD. Valls warned that the fourth industrial revolution "goes very fast and is based on knowledge." "Technology is no longer the problem, the challenge is economic and social," he added to argue that the fourth industrial revolution is 360 degrees and not only will it change our relationship with the work but will create a new social class.

He explained how that links to startups. It is all about finding a formula that implies quickly validating a business model at a very low cost and with a lot of ability to know what the user wants and needs, and that means that the future is in the processing of the data. He has set the example of major brands such as Google, Amazon, Facebook or Apple, which he described as "big oligopolies", "regulatory companies" and "basic infrastructures with more power than any of the main countries of the world".

The kick-off of this project started the day before, with an internal meeting between the eight partners.

After the two lectures, it ended up with a networking lunch at the Movistar Centre, where all the attendees and the partners had the chance to share their points of view.