The Basque Government and SPRI, in collaboration with the network of BICs in the Basque Country, have drawn up the first report on the situation of the Basque Entrepreneurship Ecosystem. The report is based on the information collected in Up! Euskadi, the interactive platform built with Dealroom technology to raise the visibility of start-ups, investors and actors and position the Ecosystem.
The Basque Government and SPRI have presented the first report on the situation of the Basque Entrepreneurship Ecosystem. The project is part of the commitment to support entrepreneurship and intra-entrepreneurship in the Basque Country made by the Basque Government through the Inter-institutional Entrepreneurship Plan PIE 2024.
Not only does the report offer a more detailed image of the start-up ecosystem in the Basque Country to date, but it is also a collaborative project, which has enjoyed the support of the Basque network of BICs.
The report is based on information collected on the Up! Euskaadi open access platform, designed to raise visibility of all the startups and actors in the ecosystem and position the territory as an advanced entrepreneurship hub. The platform has been developed with Dealroom and is based on innovative machine learning and data engineering technology.The Basque Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
The report highlights that the Basque Entrepreneurship Ecosystem is made up of more than 1,000 technology-based and/or innovative start-ups. In terms of the distribution of companies by Historical Territory, Araba accounts for 16% of new technology-based and/or innovative companies, Bizkaia 52% and Gipuzkoa 32%.
The report indicates that 75% of emerging companies focus on B2B (Business-to-Business), with a high degree of alignment with the Basque Smart Specialisation Strategy, as 70% of Basque start-ups offer solutions aimed at the RIS3 strategic priorities.
In terms of employment, the technology-based and/or innovative start-ups created in the last 8 years have more than 8,000 employees, with an average of 8 employees per company and turnover in 2021 of more than €750M. In turn, the survival rate of start-ups can be positively highlighted, exceeding 80%.
As far as investment is concerned, a significant increase has been observed in the number of active funds in the territory, with more than 130 active public and private investors (Venture Capital, corporate funds, business angels, public funds, …). The report estimates that the total value of the Basque start-ups as a whole amounts to €1,500M.
The sustained growth in the number of investment rounds and in the total amount of these rounds in recent years can be highlighted, having been multiplied by 4 since 2016. Over the past 2 years, more than €198M have been mobilised in 300 investment rounds, 70% from regional/state investment funds and 30% from European investment funds.
The report also incorporates disaggregated data, showing the potential and attractions of each Historical Territory through its main features. From this information, the number of start-ups (Araba:150; Bizkaia:505; Gipuzkoa:320) can be highlighted, along with the estimated value of the start-ups as a whole in 2022 (Araba: €104M; Bizkaia: €1,000M; Gipuzkoa: €313M) and the significant increase in investment rounds in the 3 territories over the past 5 years (Araba: 96; Bizkaia: 323; Gipuzkoa: 280).
An ecosystem with differential public support
Public action is essential as a complement to support the creation and development of the Ecosystem. The “Inter-institutional Entrepreneurship Plan PIE 2024 – Transforming our economy” completed the second year since its launch in 2022. The main indicators related to the Plan revealed the overall good health of the Basque ecosystem, placing the Basque Country at levels of entrepreneurial activity similar to the years prior to the pandemic.
In 2022, the public and private actors of the Basque ecosystem made around 800 programmes, initiatives and instruments available to different groups in order to support entrepreneurship in all its stages and forms, representing a total implemented budget of more than €96M, including extraordinary provisions of more than €20M to new investment funds and specialised infrastructures. More than 90% of the actions were developed in collaboration with various stakeholders.
This joint effort is further proof that the creation of new entrepreneurial projects continues to be a priority in the Basque Country, as a lever for accelerating the generation of new economic activity and the renewal of the business sector. The following impact achieved in 2022 can be highlighted:
- Entrepreneurial activity: in line with the evolution of the economy and employment in the Basque Country, 2022 saw:
- An increase of 23% in the number of self-employed people registered compared with 2021, even exceeding pre-pandemic levels. A total of 27,931 self-employed people registered in the Basque Country, compared with the annual average of 27,000 registrations in the 2017-2019 period.
- The figure for new companies registered stabilised (with a slight negative balance of registrations and withdrawals). In 2022, the total number of companies set up was 3,055, maintaining the annual trend of 3,000-3,100 companies in pre-pandemic years.
- The TER (Total Entrepreneurship Rate measured by the GEM Report) indicated that 4.9% of the Basque population was involved in setting up or running a new business in the past year. In the international comparison, the Basque Country’s results were similar to those of developed countries like Italy (4.8%) and regions, such as Navarra (5%).
- Entrepreneur profile: the profile of mature, skilled entrepreneurs who claimed to have the necessary skills to become entrepreneurs was confirmed for yet another year.
- Fear of failure is falling and the perception that opportunities for entrepreneurship exist is rising.
- Finally, the number of female entrepreneurs increased compared with the average for previous years. In the last period analysed, 51.4% of entrepreneurs were women, compared with an average of 42.4% in previous years.
In turn, the Basque Country has a high concentration of universities and an ecosystem of scientific-technological actors of international prestige, brought together in the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA) network, with which the network of BICs collaborates closely in the development of diverse scientific and technological entrepreneurship initiatives and programmes, consolidating itself as an important pool of talent and a catalyst for new disruptive technology-based start-ups.
On the other hand, intra-entrepreneurship has historically been an ideal formula for the reinvention and transformation of the business sector in the Basque Country. For years, Basque institutions have been working to promote intra-entrepreneurial activity among hundreds of industrial companies, highlighting the great potential of this activity to create new projects.
Therefore, the Basque Country reinforces its position as a world-class, dynamic and connected ecosystem, which favours and encourages agile interaction between start-ups, innovative companies, technology centres, universities and investors, through open innovation initiatives of international prestige.
The Up! Euskadi platform
The Basque Government, in its work to promote entrepreneurship as one of the key measures to generate employment, wealth and innovation in the territory, has strengthened the Up! Euskadi brand with the launch of its own on-line database related to the Basque Entrepreneurship Ecosystem.
The platform, led by SPRI and developed in collaboration with the Basque network of BICs, offers updated information on the Basque Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in terms of both technology-based and/or innovative start-ups and other stakeholders that make up the ecosystem, including investors, public and private incubators and accelerators, the scientific-technological offer and an array of other data on the Basque Country.
The availability of up-to-date information on the situation of the Basque Entrepreneurship Ecosystem will not only enable the ecosystem to be seen and positioned, but it is also a useful tool for the development and evaluation of policies and support initiatives, favouring data-driven decision-making, knowledge sharing across sectors and fostering the necessary connections to help the next generation of innovators succeed on the global stage.
The platform has been developed in collaboration with Dealroom, an Amsterdam-based technology company specialising in data intelligence linked to technology ecosystems. They combine machine learning and data engineering with robust verification processes and a strong ecosystem network.