The Spanish entrepreneur has a greater value every day. He has been positioning himself as a great creator of ideas and as a highly talented worker wherever he goes. However, and being realistic, we still have a long way to go for Spain to be one of the countries that generates the most confidence among potential venture capital investors. One of the causes is the uncertainty of the legal and economic scenario that we have been experiencing for some years. For this reason, we have the responsibility as a country to stand up to it and create the most friendly environment possible so that these entrepreneurial projects can grow and expand.
One of the best examples we can look at is the UK. In the British country, they already launched a sandbox initiative in 2016 that has already admitted 173 projects (out of a total of 443) and has allowed 80% of them to become a reality. They are fintech, insurtech or regtech companies that intend to adapt to the framework of a complex financial system in order to function. In Spain, we have taken a little longer, but today we can celebrate that initiatives such as our sandbox are finishing a first pilot stage and have announced a second call for this month of July.
Why is it such a serious breakthrough? Because the fact that our country wants to get involved in the adaptation of the insurtech / fintech world in a complex, changing and controlled ecosystem says a lot about its intentions to create a favorable climate in the short term. This is key to increasing the confidence of national and international investors, on whom the future of entrepreneurship and a fundamental part of our economy depend.
Let us remember that the sandbox not only takes Spain a step forward in terms of innovation, but will also allow these projects to see the light, around 5,000 new jobs can be created and will receive a new investment of 1,000 million every two years. For this, it is important that the entry requirements are strict, as confirmed by Víctor Rodríguez Quejido, Director General of Strategic Policy and International Affairs, indicating that the projects that have been left out must be redirected towards admissible proposals for the second edition that will take place in July.
Both the Bank of Spain, the General Directorate of Insurance and the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) are responsible for the admission of projects in our sandbox version. To enter, they establish minimum parameters and during the trial phase, they legally supervise and closely moderate each undertaking. Within the selection criteria, the projects are expected to be innovative, consolidated and above all have a clear and concise adaptation to the financial ecosystem.
In this way, all startups have several opportunities to aspire to enter a program that has been designed as a formula for all fintech proposals to come to fruition. Currently, the first call has completed a pilot stage that involves phases and adjustments to start working with real clients. In this way, entrepreneurs learn to create an action guide in a safe and controlled environment and, therefore, better understand the regulatory environment.
Let’s have confidence in our entrepreneurs, and let’s do it with deeds and not just words. In order for us to have more Spanish companies among the best in innovation and technology, it is very important to create environments that allow us to validate proposals in an environment of legal certainty, something very relevant in our economic future.
With the startup law, it will no longer be necessary to be a hero to be an entrepreneur in Spain.
I wish this law had existed when I created my startup 15 years ago”, confessed yesterday the Secretary of State for Artificial Intelligence, Carme Artigas (Vilasar de Mar, Barcelona, 1968), on the day on which the Council of Ministers gave the green light to the draft bill on startups, in view of the public hearing process. Excited and satisfied with a regulation that she describes as “very much desired and consensual”, in conversation with Cinco Días, she highlights the “elimination of fiscal barriers and the introduction of tax incentives for its creation”, as well as “the commitment to attract talent from abroad” and to turn Spain “into a focus of knowledge”.
¿What is the main objective of this law?
With this law, it will no longer be necessary to be a hero in Spain to be an entrepreneur of high-growth technology companies. We have to speed up the capacity to create companies and, above all, we have to facilitate investment and the attraction of talent, which are the two great elements for creating start-ups. We have to create the tools so that entrepreneurs do not find more barriers in Spain than elsewhere to promote their business idea.
¿What does the regulation do to change that?
What this law does is to understand the uniqueness of these companies, which need different investment and growth mechanisms and, in addition, compete globally and in digital sectors. And this fact means that they can be located anywhere in the world.
¿Why is it now going to be easier to set up a start-up than before in Spain?
Because we are positioning Spain as a much more competitive country for attracting investment and talent for these companies. First, by cutting red tape and bureaucracy. Second, with tax incentives. And third, and this is going to be the big change, attracting talent from abroad and stopping the brain drain to other places.
We have to create the conditions so that the entrepreneur does not encounter more barriers here than elsewhere for his idea.
¿What impact do you think the law will have?
It is the prelude to some of the important changes that can also be applied to other types of companies, in particular SMEs. With this and the other measures that the government is taking in the digital field, we are going to see a radical change in the next three years in the composition of the business fabric of our country and in the internal positioning of our companies, I have no doubt.