‘Here nobody wants to undertake, nobody wants risk. We all want to be civil servants and a job from 9 to 3’. Surely we have all witnessed, or even pronounced, these words at some time. But is this true? Are there a lack of entrepreneurs in Spain? Are there fewer entrepreneurs than in other parts of Europe? Or of the world?
If one takes a look at some documents on entrepreneurship such as the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2009 it does not seem that this is the case. Spain is ahead of the number of entrepreneurs in countries such as Germany and France. However, why this stigma? Is that really our biggest problem?
While in the EU SMEs contribute 67.21% of employment, in Spain this means 78.7%. We do not lack entrepreneurs, but we do lack large companies, or entrepreneurs who know, can or want to create large companies. Because?
We are looking for the goose that lays the golden eggs; the reason and the formula to ensure that, among the thousands of small Spanish entrepreneurs, some manage to turn their SME into a large company. How to achieve it? Different diagnoses and prescriptions are heard from among the country’s economic experts. On the one hand, many Spanish entrepreneurs are unable to grow their projects due to a lack of financing. Until recently,the financial system was excessively focused on the real estate business giving little oxygen to other businesses with greater potential for international growth. In addition, the Spanish financial system is not used to more innovative projects, for which it is also necessary to develop other financial instruments such as Business Angels (private investors) or Venture Capital.
Some also point to the Spanish businessman’s lack of global vision, excessively focused on the local or regional economy. Although we have many SMEs, few of them are born with a true spirit of global growth.
Another critical factor for business growth is innovation. Only 43.5% of Spanish companies in the industrial and service sectors carried out innovation activities between 2006 and 2008, compared to the 51.6% community average, according to Eurostat. Because? There are several reasons: lack of training, lack of scientific and technological system, early demand, financing for innovation, culture, …
In addition, the Spanish company does not cooperate. Among the companies with innovation activities in the EU, 34% cooperated with other companies, universities or innovation institutes. In Spain, only 18.7% of innovative companies collaborated with third parties.
Therefore, although entrepreneurship is a key element for the generation of wealth in an economy, its lack is not, in general terms, the biggest problem in Spain. We do not need more entrepreneurs, but rather different ones: more innovative, open and with a greater global vision. Spain needs 2.0 entrepreneurs.
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