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Pros and Cons of Starting a Business in Spain

pros and cons of starting a business in spain

Interested in starting a business in Spain? This beautiful country is not just a place with great views and rich culture, it’s becoming a top pick for business people worldwide looking to start something new.

In Spain, the business culture is unique. Some specific traditions and practices might be new to you. It’s essential to understand these nuances of how business is done there. Grasping the local business etiquette isn’t just helpful, it’s essential for success in the Spanish market. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the pros and cons of starting a business in Spain. So, dive in, learn these subtleties, and you’ll be all set to thrive in Spain’s business scene. 

Is Spain a Good Place to Start a Business? Yes, and Here’s Why. 

So, why are entrepreneurs flocking to Spain these days? Let’s break it down for you:

Economic Stability: 

First off, Spain’s economy is doing pretty well. It’s stable and growing, which is a big attraction for foreign investors and companies thinking about setting up shop there.

Strategic Geographic Location: 

Spain is the perfect meeting point on the map – it connects Europe, Africa, and the Americas. This makes it super convenient for doing business across different markets. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

Entrepreneurial environment: 

Spain is making the entrepreneurial environment attractive for new businesses. There are all sorts of support systems in place, from funding options to laws that make life easier for startups. 

Technological Innovation: 

Madrid and Barcelona, two of Spain’s biggest cities, have transformed into hubs of innovation, attracting tech companies and fostering a culture that’s all about entrepreneurship and creativity. 

But it’s not just the business opportunities that are drawing people in. Spain offers a lifestyle that’s appealing to business-minded folks who are also seeking cultural richness and a balanced approach to work and life.

In Spain, there’s a strong emphasis on maintaining a great work-life balance. This approach lets business owners and entrepreneurs effectively juggle their professional responsibilities with their personal lives. It’s not just about working hard; it’s about living well too. 

This balance is a big part of what makes doing business in Spain so attractive.

Spanish Business Culture

Spain has been climbing up the ranks in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, showing some notable improvements. In the latest ratings, Spain stood out for protecting minority investors and making it easier to start a business. 

But, it’s not all smooth sailing – there have been some hiccups, particularly when enforcing contracts and getting building permits.

Despite these challenges, Spain remains a big player in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain, along with data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), highlight a significant flow of foreign investments into the country. 

This influx is a clear vote of confidence in Spain’s business environment.

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Starting a Business in Spain as a Foreigner: What You Need to Know

Corporate Culture:

Spain has a distinct business culture. Generally, there’s this traditional respect for the boss and a pretty clear pecking order in most companies. 

But don’t let that deter you! There’s a shift underway, especially in younger and more innovative industries, where a more relaxed and creative approach is emerging.


In Spanish corporate culture, establishing connections and fostering trust is essential. Social networking and in-person contacts are important.

Governmental Directives:

Because bureaucracy can be complicated, international business owners encounter difficulties. 

Language and Communication:

Although Spanish might benefit more meaningful interactions, English is still extensively spoken in business, particularly among younger professionals and international corporations.

Advantages of Starting a Business in Spain

Let’s dive into the pros and cons of starting a business in Spain. First, let’s tackle the advantages.

Spain’s Well-Developed Infrastructure:

Spain boasts an impressive infrastructure network including efficient roads, railways, ports, and airports, making transportation and logistics a breeze for businesses. 

The country’s stellar telecommunications infrastructure supports businesses reliant on digital communication, with widespread internet connectivity and advanced tech. 

Additionally, Spain’s investment in renewable energy like solar and wind power means a reliable and eco-friendly energy source for businesses.

Tax Benefits for Entrepreneurs:

Spain offers enticing tax breaks to entrepreneurs, creating a climate encouraging innovation and company expansion. The Spanish government has lowered corporation tax rates for newly founded businesses, giving them a competitive edge and reducing their initial tax burden. 

Businesses that spend money on research and development can get tax credits, encouraging creativity and advancing technology. 

Deductions and incentives, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), are offered to encourage investment, job creation, and business growth.

Geographical Location:

Spain sits at a strategic crossroads, offering unparalleled access to European, African, and American markets. 

This prime location is perfect for businesses engaged in international trade, providing a logistical edge for import-export ventures.

Cost Benefits for International Entrepreneurs:

For international entrepreneurs, Spain is a cost-effective choice. Operating expenses, including labor, office space, and overall living costs are generally lower here compared to many other European countries. 

This affordability allows business owners to manage their finances effectively while enjoying a high quality of life.

pros and cons of starting a business in spain

Challenges of Doing Business in Spain

Next, in our pros and cons of starting a business in Spain, let’s discuss some of the challenges. Like in all aspects of life, the advantages come with disadvantages.

Bureaucratic Challenges:

Alright, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – bureaucracy. This is one of the major challenges of doing business in Spain. The maze of rules and procedures can slow things down, creating red tape that hampers swift business operations. 

Complying with Spain’s intricate legal system means more paperwork, longer approval times, and navigating various formalities. This can be especially daunting for those not familiar with Spain’s regulatory environment, potentially delaying the start-up or expansion of businesses.

High Unemployment Rate:

Spain’s got a bit of a tricky situation with its unemployment rate, particularly among the youth. 

This situation poses two key issues: it reflects broader economic challenges and makes it tougher for businesses to find skilled and experienced workers. 

While there have been improvements, the ongoing high unemployment rate can impact consumer spending, market demand, and the overall business atmosphere.

Language and Cultural Barriers:

Jumping over the language and cultural hurdles takes some doing. Sure, in the business hubs and among professionals, English is widely spoken. But speaking Spanish can be hugely beneficial to build stronger relationships, negotiate better, and comprehend local laws. 

And don’t forget the cultural bit – in Spain, it’s all about personal relationships. 

The Spanish emphasis on personal relationships and connections can make it challenging for outsiders to navigate the subtleties of business interactions. Negotiations, decision-making procedures, and work relationships can all be impacted by cultural quirks. 

Understanding these finer points can make a difference in how you negotiate, make decisions, and navigate workplace dynamics. 

Setting up a Business in Spain: A Pathway to Residency

Entrepreneur Visa

If you’re looking to start a business in Spain, the Entrepreneur Visa is designed for you. It’s Spain’s way of welcoming investors and business founders. Here’s what you need for this visa:

  • You’ll need a solid business plan that outlines your project, its impact, and financial projections.
  • Be prepared to show that you’re investing a significant amount in your business, depending on what it is.
  • Your business should aim to create jobs for Spanish citizens or legal residents.

Once you get this visa, you can live in Spain and run your business. It starts with temporary residency, and if you meet the criteria, you can extend it or switch to permanent residency down the line.

Self-Employed Visa

For those wanting to work as freelancers or independent contractors in Spain, the Self-Employed Visa is what you’re looking for. To get this visa, you generally need to:

  • Show that you have the skills and experience for your freelance work or independent project.
  • Demonstrate that there’s a market for your work in Spain and it’s likely to be successful.
  • Prove that you have enough money to support yourself (and any dependents) at the start.

These visas are great options if you’re planning to make Spain your business base and potentially your new home.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Pros and Cons of Starting a Business in Spain

What types of business structures are available in Spain?

You’ve got several options: Limited Liability Companies (Sociedad Limitada – S.L.), Public Limited Companies (Sociedad Anónima – S.A.), partnerships, sole proprietorships, subsidiaries, and branch offices for foreign corporations.

What are the initial steps to Starting a business in Spain?

Begin by getting an NIE (identity number for foreigners), then reserve a unique name for your business. 

You’ll need to open a dedicated bank account for your business, notarize your business documents, and register with the Commercial Registry, with the Tax Office and, in some cases, also in the Social Security.

We recommend working with an experienced corporate lawyer when setting up your business in Spain. We can ensure the journey is smoother and help you navigate any potential challenges or surprises along the way.

How long does it take to set up a business in Spain?

It can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks, depending on various factors. First of all, the type of entity (for subsidiaries and branches it is important to receive all the mother company’s documents duly apostilled), notary’s appointment, NIE’s appointment, Spanish burocracy etc. 

How much does it cost to set up a business in Spain?

Expect costs to range from €1000 to €3,000, which covers various legal and administrative expenses.

What Tax Benefits Can Entrepreneurs Expect in Spain?

There are several Tax Incentives to start a business in Spain.

Entrepreneurs can benefit from reduced corporation tax rates for new businesses, tax incentives for R&D activities, deductions for certain expenditures, and exemptions on some business operations.


Now that you’re armed with the pros and cons of starting a business in Spain, you’re ready to make the important decision of whether this is the next country for your business venture. 

In our opinion, Spain isn’t just a great vacation spot – it’s also a prime location for business ventures. With its mix of cultural diversity, strategic location, tax benefits, and solid infrastructure, Spain is making a name for itself in the global business arena.

Considering Spain as a viable option for your business venture unlocks a world brimming with possibilities and growth prospects. 

Ready to dive in? Fill out the form below, and one of our legal experts will be right with you to help get things rolling.

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