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Irene Codina Altarriba,

The city is ranked as the fifth start-up ecosystem in the European Union according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Index, which is published by the international consultancy StartupBlink.

Once again, Barcelona has been confirmed as the leading hub for emerging companies in Southern Europe. The Catalan capital has risen one place in the European Union ranking, reaching fifth place in the Global Startup Ecosystem Index, behind Paris, Berlin, Stockholm and Amsterdam.

The publication also ranks Barcelona as the best city in the world for the Games and Pharmaceutical industries, placing it among the top five cities in the world for five different industries: at number three in Internet of Things, and fifth in Cleantech and Travel.

StartupBlink, the driving force behind the study, is a prestigious consultancy company specialising in the analysis of start-up ecosystems. The report analyses 1,000 cities from 100 different countries, taking into account parameters such as the number of start-ups in each ecosystem, their quality and the business climate. It also values co working spaces, company accelerators, the number of successful ventures and unicorns, the traction generated by the main start-ups and other factors.

Barcelona, a diverse, qualified capital city

“Barcelona is recognized as a smart city, making it an attractive and appealing place to live and work. The city embodies an entrepreneurial spirit, driven by a talented workforce”, explains the report.

It also showcases the city’s educational excellence and its top-notch technological centres, highlighting the leading role played by ESADE and IESE in providing a constant flow of skilled graduates. It is also noted that the cosmopolitan nature of the city and its business-friendly climate attract an ever-increasing number of talented professionals from other countries.

The report places emphasis on the Business Landing service promoted by Barcelona Activa, aimed at international companies and entrepreneurs who are planning to set up in Barcelona. It also highlights the role of the Barcelona & Catalonia Startup Hub in linking technological start-ups with funding opportunities, and mentions globally successful events such as Tech Spirit Barcelona and 4YFN.

A strong commitment to fostering innovation

The powerful network of Barcelona institutions also merited a mention in the report. Universities, research institutions, technological centres and both local and international companies all foster a dynamic environment for emerging companies, facilitating business collaborations and opportunities.

With this point, the report notes the importance of the city’s technological hubs, citing the examples of the Eurecat Technology Centre, the Catalan Institute of Photonics and the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre. According to the report, these centres are essential for making progress in research in fields such as computing, life sciences, earth sciences and the application computing in science and engineering.

Access to accelerators and funding

Initiatives aimed at offering collaboration and funding opportunities to start-ups are essential for developing this entrepreneurial ecosystem. The study highlights some of the programmes that provide support for companies in their initial stages, as well as offering mentoring and networking services.

The report cites successful start-ups, such as TravelPerk and Inbenta, which have benefited from this support network, obtaining major investments totalling €95 million and €37 million respectively. The report concludes, “Barcelona’s startup ecosystem features a mix of innovative local businesses and major multinational firms across various sectors, including cutting-edge technologies like AI, robotics, and IoT, enhancing the city’s appeal to startups".


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