13 Jul, 2013 @ 09:01
1 min read

Spain bad for start-up businesses


SPAIN is one of the worst countries in the world to be an entrepreneur.

That is the damning conclusion of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor in its annual global study.

Only six percent of Spain’s working age population are considered entrepreneurs, while less than 20 percent of students want to start a business.

The website spoke to 100 start-ups and found the same complaints – that it was incredibly difficult to start a business here.

The biggest obstacle was the government and the amount of paperwork involved.

The World Bank meanwhile ranks Spain as 136th worldwide for ease of starting a business, with a cost of about €1,000 in public paperwork that takes more than a month to process.

It also ranks 44th on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, well behind most European countries, except for Greece and Italy.

“It is expensive and patience-prohibitive to be an entrepreneur in Spain,” claimed the report.

“Before you even start, you have to jump through an absurd number of hoops, fill out tons of paperwork, wait for signatures, and pay fees and taxes, long before a profit is even envisioned.”

These results comes after a recent survey found that 80% of university students in Spain wanted to be civil servants rather than start their own businesses.

This is almost the opposite of America, where over 70% wanted to be entrepreneurs.


  1. This excellent video demonstrates the task ahead of all entrepreneurs starting out in Spain:


    Apply for your Green Card now is my advice lol.

  2. Politicians and functionaries at every level are so intent on getting their bite of the pie first, (it’s so much easier than getting a real job) that the only thing left for a new start-up is the bills.

  3. All I can say to anyone thinking of a small business in Spain is…DONT DO IT. If you wish a better return on your money then dig a big hole and bury it.. at least that way your town hall, tax advisor, taxman, Local government, national government and social security can not touch it, or to put it another way if you wish to make a small fortune in Spain do what we did start with a large one open a business and just watch the money pour out to everyone else!!

  4. Fred – Thank you! The youtube video is very funny and smart and complements this article perfectly. It also shows that Spanish nationals recognise the problem, too.

  5. we’ve started a few business here over the years. And its been a nightmare everytime. Each official we have to deal with has their own rules and regulations *and expenses*. It seems only the crooks get ahead in spain.
    What really ticks me off is the attitude of ‘this is how we do it, if you don’t like it you can piss off’.
    Even the video above, funny though it is, it shows how everyone understands the problem, yet no one cares to change it.

    Minimum salary tax is 40% !!!! This is why payslips say base salary is €100 and then ‘extras’ is €300 so companies pay tax on 25% of salary.

  6. HI SPAIN, I’ve got some ideas:

    Sell all your empty houses off at cut down prices whilst stopping any more building. (getting cash flowing)

    Make it a great deal cheaper to become autonomo as everyone I know can’t afford this. (getting cash flowing)

    Have every major scrutinised by an independent government body and get rid of any corruption. This will breed confidence, especially in buying houses in certain areas. (getting cash flowing)

    Promote Spain’s No.1 asset, tourism, by giving businesses some kind of incentives to improve their business. Discounts on paint would be one initial idea. (eventually getting cash flowing)

    Use the natural resources you have to promote tourism too: lakes, rivers, natural hot spots. You have it all Spain, and much much more.


  7. There’s a bloke in London who posts under various names on different forums including Spanish and EU Start-Ups, as if it was all so easy which this proves it isn’t, Ha ha, he always talks Spain up and tries to kid people everything is ok there. Regulars seem to know he’s a wind-up merchant, he doesn’t tell all the story like posters on here will tell you. Don’t be fooled by his spiel.

  8. Paul, who would talk up Spain for the sake of it? It’s the constant talking DOWN that’s the problem!! That’s just adding to the problems Spain has, instead of suggesting anything remotely constructive like your post has just done.

  9. edward,
    you are a laugh (at least that’s something). You obviously know nothing about the Spanish and maybe that tells us you don’t live in Spain at all – we do get a lot of American trolls, who have never visited Spain at all.

    Everything you suggest is way too rational and the Spanish simply are’nt. You also have no grasp whatsoever about economic reality – Spain is bankrupt and the north countries bailing them out will not lead to a change in mentality, just more money down the corrupt Spanish drain – what part of this can’t you deal with.

  10. Edward, sorry to burst your view on things, but I disagree with you. Too many people, maybe you are one, ‘talk Spain up’ because they have a vested interest. It is constructive for us to tell others about the problems in Spain including the scams, it might actually save them from losing their money. You may be surprised to hear I agree with Stuart on this.

  11. Wrong again ‘dubious Stuart’ on many levels.. but hey it’s too hot to argue at the moment. You need to chill out literally. The only vested interest would be to hope for a better future in the country I live in.

  12. What a waste of time to come to this forum and ‘suggest’ improvements. Sounds like you’ve turned native!
    When i read this article i came to voice my agreement. Even after all these years i still get sick to the back teeth too often, at the inepitude, inefficiency and corruption in this country.
    If you want to improve things join the protests (like 18 July in Madrid) against corruption. But like all spanish protests no one is listening, and the only people getting something out of that are the police and their new batons…

  13. @Edward: i understand you may be a little confused with all this new fangled technology, so i will patiently explain, as i do to many oldies…
    the comments section after a news article is for comments ABOUT the news article.
    If you want to rant about other things, or tell others how to behave, then feel free to get a pen and write a letter or two.
    but criticising others when you clearly live in glass house is ill advised.

  14. Fred you just choose one path only. You’re the blinkered one, who along with others (like David Moaning) and the media, really help things go down the tubes! FANTASTIC!!

  15. I have to wholeheartedly agree with this article. After moving from Boston, (a hot bed of startups) i was taken by shock at how inept and incompetent the society and the government are. its ironic that in one hand the government is playing the entrepreneurship is sexy card and on the other hand making it really hard for setting up companies. Unfortunately this is attracting a lot of scamsters wanting to setup so called mentoring services.

  16. Ed, I have posted on this story before (see above) and would like to point out that despite your excellent ideas we have now been running at a loss for long enough and had to close our business. When we pointed out to our accountant that if they could bring the social security, tax, licencess, and all the other red tape and mumbo jumbo down in price we could just see out the bad times, he almost wet himself with laughter and then handed us his bill before we left.

    THAT is the reality of Spain and even now 2 months later we still have bills because hey you choose to close your business and therefore not entitled to any help from the social but still need to pay social. So if you ever come back from cloud cuckoo land pay me a call and i will show a village with over 80% of the business’s closed.

    Rant over Robin

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