Valencia has long been considered an industrial hub with its agro-food, automobile and manufacturing industries.
But now, a new generation of companies is doing business in Valencia, ranging from major brands such as Volkswagen to a recent boom in tech companies and increasing interest from foreign businesses looking for office space at affordable prices and good quality of life for their workers.
Together, they bring new jobs to Valencia, inspiring regeneration and revitalising neglected areas.
International tech hub
Thanks to non-profit organisations such as Startup Valencia laying the groundwork for tech and innovation in the city, not to mention incubators and accelerators, such as Lanzadera, from Mercadona president Juan Roig, Valencia now holds its own as one of many exciting startup hubs in Europe.
Digital nomads in Spain began flocking to the Turia city during the pandemic, and the city’s marina has become a hub of incubators for entrepreneurs with great ideas. More than 1,000 startups are in the city, and the physical space is also being created to accommodate these fledgling businesses.
Last year it was announced that the old ferry terminal in Valencia’s marina would be converted into a hub for fledgling tech companies and is set to house more than 500 professionals. The annual Valencia Digital Summit, now in its fifth year, provides an ideal networking opportunity, bringing together tech professionals worldwide.
The booming startup scene has attracted big companies, such as Deutsche Telekom IT, to invest in the region. The company’s new ‘Value Center’ hub aims to generate 500 new jobs, forging connections with Spanish universities to promote local professionals alongside attracting international talent. Peter Leukert, CIO of Deutsche Telekom IT, has described Valencia as the ‘digital, scientific, cultural centre of Spain’ and is backing up his words with action.
Deutsche Telekom IT is the latest of several giant tech firms interested in Valencia, following Siemens, HP, Hitachi and Toshiba in opening up new work centres.
Rapid growth doesn’t mean that Valencia has to sacrifice its green credentials. Of the several big businesses investing in the region, several promote decarbonisation goals while also providing job opportunities.
TERA Battery Recycling is one such company. One of the first electric vehicle battery treatment and recycling plants in Spain, the firm opened for business in March 2022. In supporting the recycling and reuse of electric vehicle batteries, the company works towards decarbonisation goals and assists in developing another green industry in the region.
It’s also impossible to overlook Valenciaport, the organisation responsible for administering an 80 km stretch of Valencia’s coastline and three important industrial ports in Valencia, Sagunto and Gandia.
An ambitious set of proposals targeted to reach fruition in 2030 would see Valenciaport developed as the most sustainable port in Europe, with a new container terminal powered exclusively by renewable energy creating more than 5,000 new jobs.
It is increasingly prevalent that any reindustrialisation programme needs to consider the social impact and keep pace with accessibility and mobility. Several strands of Valencia’s reindustrialisation programme promote sustainable mobility development. Stadler Rail, a well-established transportation company, has announced plans to create a new industrial facility to expand capacity in La Vall d’Uixó, further up the coast from Valencia. This assembly plant will bring at least 100 new jobs to the area and increase the production of trains that facilitate accessibility for people with limited mobility.
Then there is Neptury Technologies, setting up a base nearby Almassora to produce machinery to manufacture battery cells exported to Asia. Further investment has come from Air Nostrum, the regional airline working with aeronautical companies to develop hybrid-powered commercial aircraft from Quart de Poblet in Valencia’s outskirts. Further contributing to the regional industrial dynamism, the Valencian company Power Electronics is set to expand its operations there. Alongside the existing 42,000 m2 at its headquarters, the firm plans to construct a new logistics centre spanning 6000 m2 in Lliria.
The latest figures from the INE, Spain’s national institute of Statistics, suggest that the production of machinery, electrical, electronic equipment and transport material are the fastest growing sectors in the Valencian community, with an increase of 7 per cent from 2015 to 2023.
Mission Valencia: Volkswagen’s gigafactory
Growth in the Valencian Community is demonstrated by the development of Volkswagen’s battery gigafactory planet in Sagunto, with plans to open in 2026 and construction to start later this year.
The ambition is to create more than 3,000 direct and 30,000 indirect jobs to enable the production of electric vehicles at the existing Martorell and Pamplona assembly plants. It is a core component of Volkswagen’s plans for the electrification of its operations across Spain, an investment programme totalling 10 billion euros.
The Spanish government has lauded the project as a signifier of the confidence of foreign investors in Spain and as a crucial part of the country’s commitment to innovation as part of its national reindustrialisation programme.
With new jobs and improved physical infrastructure, Valencia is undergoing urban regeneration. Plans include creating green spaces, pedestrianising central areas, and promoting public spaces. As investment pours into the region, more opportunities for urban renewal will arise, fostering prosperity. Valencia’s reindustrialisation, driven by intelligent investments, offers diverse job opportunities, industrial programs, and talented international workers. It aims to become a thriving hub for innovative businesses and sustainable industries, with the potential to be one of the top startup cities in the world.
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