The Place With A Lot Of Startup Potential: Asturias

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Why tie yourself to just one city? Find out why Asturias, a region in the Northwest of Spain with the hubs Gijón, Oviedo and more, is the best location for your startup!

As Vinton Cerf, Google Evangelist and recognized as one of “the fathers of the Internet,” said:

In Asturias, they transformed a coal mining area into a Silicon Valley with 600 companies and 2,000 IT and telecommunications engineers. They’ve gone from “carbón” to “ratón”.

In English, that means from “coal” to “mouse”. The main regional industry in recent times was coal mining and steel production. The steel industry is now in a downward trend, reducing workforce and investment, same as mining some years ago, basically due to high production costs compared to other regions.

Almost 20 years ago Asturias decided to bet on IT as a way to spread the market and be able to offer a new professional career to coming generations. As a result of all those efforts, nowadays, some of the most important IT Global Corporations (CSC, Cap Gemini, Indra, IECISA, Ricoh or Software AG) provide services all over the globe from their Asturian delivery centers. Moreover, other international communities such as W3C, have adopted the same behavior and decided to locate their country headquarters in Asturias. Besides all these changes, there have been other important local initiatives funded by public and private investors. They are supporting that industry change by acting as hubs and facilitating IT development inside the public sector and small & medium businesses such as Cluster TIC, The mile of knowledge, or CTIC Foundation. Just recently, in May 2016 Astur Valley (Asturian Association of Startups, NGO) has been created – with 13 startup members and the aim to collaborate to create the best possible environment for local startups.

This cultural change came together with the creation of new companies (Treelogic, Seresco, Satec, Izertis, Futuver, Intermark, Talento, etc.), all of them high knowledge intensive, delivering their own products around the globe. Also, the local university (Oviedo University) has adapted to this new job market and is now offering several technological degrees and masters, and is also maximizing foreign language courses.

Asturias: In The North-West Of Spain

Asturias is a region located in the northwest of Spain, and I guess that you’re probably wondering why it appears in a city guide. The answer is simple and complex at once. Within a radius of just over 50 km we can find 5 cities (Gijón, Oviedo, Avilés, Mieres and Langreo) linked by super-highways forming a large metropolitan area of 850.000 inhabitants, which means we are talking about the sixth largest metropolitan area of Spain. It may not be a city, but it’s a powerful economic region worth writing about.

Advantages Of Starting A Business In Asturias:

For Your Startup:

  • Very powerful IT sector. More than 600 companies and 4000 IT and telecommunications engineers.
    More than 1500 engineers providing several services over the globe from their Asturian delivery centers of CSC and Cap Gemini. This means you have a huge crew of engineers with international experience in multiple technologies desiring to join your “rock” project.
  • Asturias is cheaper than Madrid, Barcelona and many other European cities. A senior developer can be hired for €24.000-30.000.
  • We have good and cheap co-working offices.
  • 300 mb/s cable connection for €55/month approx.
  • The startup community is very restless and talented – we are always moving and looking for ways to collaborate.
  • Very important European Innovation Centers are located in Asturias, meaning that you have very easy access to highly qualified researchers.

For Your life:

  • Natural paradise (the region with the most biosphere reserves in Europe, beaches, mountains…).
  • Oviedo and Gijón are permanently in the list of cities with the best quality of life in Spain.
  • Food and gastronomy is one of the things Spain is famous for (fabes, cachopo, amazing fish and seafood, terrific Asturian veal and typical Asturian cider).
  • Sports (surfing in summer, skiing/snowboarding in winter, trekking in spring and “cidering” in autumn…).

What Startup Founders Have To Consider:

  • Transport: You will only have direct flights to Madrid, Barcelona and London for business.
  • The government may support you with a grant or two, but at the same time it welcomes startups with slightly confusing bureaucratic obstacles that make your life just a bit more challenging.

We truly believe that Asturias is the underdog on Spain’s startup map. Of course, we can’t be compared to Madrid or Barcelona in quantity but we are fighting very hard to be compared in quality. We have high level engineers (with an unbeatable value for money), very kind people and a place with a very high quality of life. So, if you are thinking of founding your startup, Asturias is your place to be.

As said before, the Asturian startup community is very restless and talented, you can find a few examples of local startups here. Also, it should be pointed out that the two sectors Asturian startups tend to focus on are VideoGames and eHealth.

Be Part Of Asturias’ Startup Environment

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There’s a young and growing local startup community in Asturias that’s very restless and working on extraordinary ideas. If you are a dynamic and collaborative person it will be very easy for you to join the community because Asturians are really charming.

There are too many events for entrepreneurs right now in Asturias so it’s very important to select the best events suitable for you so you’re not wasting a lot of time attending events that won’t add any value to your project.

Right now the best way to join the startup crew in Asturias is to contact Astur Valley. Other good ways would be attending a Startup Grind Asturias event or one of the Freedays at FreeHouse, they always have nice chats!

Events in Asturias: There’s not a single place where you can find all info about upcoming events. On this website you can find a lot of them, but be careful because important events could not be on this agenda. Anyway, below you can find the most interesting regular and yearly events.

Regular Events & Meetups:

  • Startup Grind Asturias: Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. It is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs. They organize monthly events.
  • Iniciador Asturias: Their main objective is to help people who want to start. They organize regular events.
  • Startup Weekend Somiedo is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities.
  • WeStartup: It is an innovative initiative that brings together the unemployed, professionals and entrepreneurs with ideas. They are then provided with means to accelerate the development of their projects.
  • FIMP is a unique opportunity to hear great talks, establish new contacts and mingle with inquiring minds. Events revolve around technology, games, education.
  • Betabeers Asturias is a community of developers who organize monthly meetings to share knowledge on technology and startups.
  • Big Data Asturias is a group for all people (in Asturias and beyond) interested in sharing experience in Big Data, machine learning, visualization, Business Intelligence, NoSQL, R, IoT etc. An open forum for free flowing of ideas and interchanging points of view.
  • Google Developers Asturias is a group aimed at developers.
  • No more suits Asturias: It’s a bimonthly informal meeting in which a group of entrepreneurs or workers directly or indirectly related to the technology sector and mentors (professionals with some experience in various fields) share opinions, ideas and beers.

Yearly Or Major Events, Festivals, Conferences:

Places To Work In The Asturias Region

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Every public center in Asturias provides co-working spaces and/or cheap office opportunities, you can see them in the section ”Government/Public Centers”.

Co-working spaces in Asturias:

Where To Get Funding In Asturias

Asturias_guide_financing.

Incubators & Pre/Accelerators:

  • Freehouse is an entrepreneurial house. If you have a project, you can apply there in order to be helped, hosted, and invested in by other entrepreneurs from €5.000 – €50.000.
  • CEEI: Incubator and Bioincubator.
  • Vivero de Empresas de Gijón: created with the aim to provide a stable support network for new business initiatives, from the generation of the business idea to its implementation until the consolidation of the business project.

Pre/Seed Capital:

  • Seed Internet Projects: Pre-seed capital. They support you from scratch from a tech point of view and capital.
  • Alantis Capital is an early stage Venture firm. Their investment ranges from €50,000 to €500,000 with the aim to support their companies for the longer term.
  • Gijón Invierte: Promoted by Gijón council. Investment from €250.000 to €900.000.

Grants & Subventions:

  • ENISA actively participates in the financing of viable and innovative business projects.
  • Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) is a Public Business Entity, answering to the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, which fosters the technological development and innovation of Spanish companies. It is the entity that channels the funding and support applications for national and international R&D&I projects of Spanish companies.
  • IDEPA: Economic Development Agency of the Principality of Asturias is the Public Body, dependent on the Asturian Regional Administration. IDEPA has established its quality policy based on the vision on how we see ourselves in the future, the mission the organization has established under its governing law and the values it is based upon.

Governmental & Public Centers:

The government centers above provide support to entrepreneurs with a range of high-quality services covering information, networking, training, offices, co-working spaces, assessment and financing to help entrepreneurs throughout the setup process of successful business initiatives.

Innovation Centers:

  • Prodintec is a technology centre specialized in industrial design and production. Their mission is to foster the competitiveness of industrial firms by applying technological advances both to their products and to their manufacturing and management processes.
  • CTIC Foundation: Targets are to provide support and promote cooperation; and to foster the development and competitiveness of businesses through both R&D&I and innovative technology services.
  • ITMA aims to promote all the activities in terms of technological development and scientific research required by our customers.
  • SLab – Steel Labs: Global R&D ArcelorMittal focuses on three main activities: total process control through intelligent manufacturing, maintenance and safety; energy, looking at environmental and recycling solutions; and supply chain and techno-economic decision support tools.
  • University Insitute of Industrial Technology of Asturias: the prime goal is to contribute to the technological development of the region by implementing R&D and Innovation activities that are of special interest to the Asturian business community.
  • Other important innovation centers can be found here.

Look For Additional Help In Asturias

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Taking into account the many choices, a good starting point would be to contact the Astur Valley guys. There you can ask unblushingly 🙂 about your project. They will be more than happy to contact the person, public institution, startup, entrepreneur etc. that is the most suitable for you.

Asturias is the sixth metropolitan area of Spain. Great quality of life. Charming people. Amazing nature to practice any kind of sport. A famous gastronomy in the whole of Spain. Furthermore, it has a very powerful IT sector based on the University and Innovation Centers and a big number of IT companies hosted in Asturias providing IT services around the world. The startup community is growing fast and it’s really collaborative.

So, Asturias is the perfect place to create your startup and see it grow to the infinite 🙂 What are you waiting for?

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Last updated: July 28th, 2016

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