By Binsal Abdulkader
DUBAI, 25th February, 2022 (WAM) — Spain’s new strategy for entrepreneurship and innovation will strengthen its existing status as a “natural bridge for Middle Eastern businesses to Latin America,” a senior Spanish official told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
“As Spain has historic ties with Latin America, it is a natural bridge for Europe and the Middle East to Latin America. We want to keep strengthening that position. The UAE as a land of opportunities can take advantage of this [development],” Francisco Polo, High Commissioner for Spain Entrepreneurial Nation, said.
Spain is taking decisive steps to become an entrepreneurial nation, with a new start-up law and a national strategy to become one of the best countries in the world for entrepreneurship and innovation, said Polo who is the top official in the Spanish government, responsible for promoting that strategy.
He added that the Spain will offer new opportunities for businesses in the Middle East, especially in the UAE, to expand to Latin America, emphasising the special relationship between Spain and Spanish-speaking Latin American countries as they share a common language and a cultural history.
Polo explained that the new Spanish national strategy has created an ecosystem that encourages and supports start-ups and innovations in all sectors of the economy.
Cooperation with the land of opportunities
“We see that the UAE also keeps transforming itself to become an entrepreneurial nation, with its own [characteristics] as we want to have ours,” the official said.
Spain is trying to attract talents, he added. “We are discussing with the UAE to improve the frameworks for mutual investments in both countries. There is a lot of opportunity for both countries and there is a lot of complementarities between us.”
“This is a land of opportunities. So, I am here to speak to Emiratis.”
Spanish businesses have already made their presence felt in the UAE, the official said, revealing that 157 Spanish companies are operating in the UAE.
Start-ups to fill gender income gap
The official said the new Spanish strategy for entrepreneurship envisages that start-ups will be able to solve some sociopolitical issues such as gender income gap.
Promoting women in entrepreneurship in the country would help fill the gender gap, Polo pointed out.
Talking about income gap, he said, “If we divide population into three income segments, around 14 percent at the top segment [with highest income] in the country become entrepreneurs. Among the third segment with lowest income, only four percent become entrepreneurs.”
This means, Polo explained, people in the second segment, with mid-level income, and majority in other two segments never choose entrepreneurship.
“We are losing a lot of talent, a lot of people who could become entrepreneurs because of different barriers. Therefore, the new strategy has policy measures to encourage low-income people to become entrepreneurs,” he said.
Making investments available for everyone, attracting investments and international talents to the economy are some of such policy measures, he added.
International talents to add to 5.8mn expats
“We want to offer opportunity for people from across the world to come to Spain and start their businesses in the country,” Polo said.
To attract talents, there is a new category called “digital nomads,” which means anyone working anywhere in the world can come to Spain under this special scheme and live in the country, he explained.
The residency and tax rules have also been eased for investors, founders of start-ups and their employees.
Now, foreigners residing in Spain exceed 5.8 million, Polo said, quoting the Permanent Observatory of Immigration, under the General Secretariat of Objectives and Policies of Inclusion and Social Welfare of the Ministry of Inclusion.
“We are going to have more expats in Spain. Spain is known as a very welcoming nation. Our legal framework is going to be even more welcoming in that sense.”
WAM/ Ibrahim Shukralla