Entrepreneurship in Spain

Multiple initiatives follow one another so that young people dare to undertake more in Spain. Whether in innovation, digital transformation or future technologies, the pattern repeats itself: the least interested age group is the one that goes from 18 to 29 years old. Moreover: Spain leads the ranking in terms of fear of failure as an obstacle to undertake, with 64% of the population compared to the world average of 47%.

“Young people continue to have many difficulties when it comes to turning their intentions into real ventures, while the entrepreneurial senior population has doubled in the last decade,” says Ana Fernández, president of the Spanish Entrepreneurship Observatory, in the GEM 20-21 report.

“Spain is characterized by being a country that trusts little in others, including the government, with the sole exception of the family,” explains Fernández. This explains in part that, in the opinion of our experts, all the environmental conditions, except one, have seen their valuation drop. Despite everything, the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem is still in the top 20; that is, above the European average”.

According to the GEM Report, age is an element that can be decisive for entrepreneurship. On the one hand, young people tend to lack resources and experience, but they also tend to have fewer responsibilities and family burdens that limit their ability to take risks, as well as having a better understanding of the latest technologies and having more energy and enthusiasm when starting a business. On the other hand, with the passage of time people develop experience and accumulate knowledge that facilitates the identification and exploitation of business opportunities.

Thus, according to the study, the profile of the Spanish entrepreneur includes mostly people between 35 and 44 years old (30.5%), as well as people between 45 and 54 years old (35.5%). The average age is around 42 years old, which, with the maturation process of the initiatives, is increasing until reaching those over 55 years old, 36.4% in the consolidated initiatives. At the opposite extreme is the youngest population, between 18 and 24 years old, which represents 21.7% of the total in 2020.

It should also be noted that the main motivation in the creation of companies in the incipient phase is to earn a living because work is scarce, going from representing “47% in 2019 to 72% in 2020, thus breaking the trend observed in the recent years, in which generating wealth or a higher income reached 55% of the population, rising to 35% in 2020”.

Likewise, whether among young people or seniors, and despite having the human capital and social capital necessary to undertake, 64% of the Spanish population perceives that the fear of failure would prevent them from starting a new business.
It is also necessary to understand how the Spanish entrepreneur sees the conditions of his environment to launch himself into this activity. In 2020, according to the 36 Spanish experts interviewed for the GEM report, commercial infrastructure (6.5), access to physical infrastructure (5.9), government programs (5.7), and post-school education ( 5.1) are the environmental conditions that have received the best ratings. In contrast, entrepreneurial education and training at the school stage (2.2) and bureaucracy and taxes (3.9) have received the lowest.

“An individual usually makes the decision to undertake based on the information available on other accessible work alternatives – they indicate–. To do this, they take into account a series of objective factors such as previous experience, their employment situation or their educational level, and also subjective factors such as the perception of their values and aptitudes to undertake, as well as the culture associated with entrepreneurship”.