News Economic Development and Infrastructure

The Financial Times once again ranks the Basque Country as an attractive territory for foreign investment

2019 January 27

The Financial Times Group’s dFi Intelligence magazine has again named the Basque Country as an attractive territory for foreign investment in recognition of four aspects of the SPRI Group and the Basque Government’s Invest in the Basque Country strategy: specifically support for companies already established there, the Bind 4.0 programme – the first private-public start-up accelerator, the incentive systems, along with one of the projects to attract foreign investment in the Basque Country, as has been the case of the US company Viralgen.

This is the third consecutive time that this prestigious specialist publication has recognised the “Invest in the Basque Country” work. Last year, it placed the Basque Country amongst the 10 most attractive European regions in Southern Europe for foreign investment and recognised the "Invest in the Basque Country” strategy to attract inward investment as one of the 10 best of the medium-sized regions in Europe. Two years ago, the Financial Times named the Basque Country as the sixth best European region for foreign investment and stressed that it was the medium-size region that offers the best logistics.

Thus, the Basque Country has been ranked by the fDi Magazine, specialised in the position of international investment flows and markets, among 112 world locations. As already stated, the Strategy Awards’ report highlights the Basque Country’s “Aftercare” strategy to support foreign capital companies already established there, its strategies regarding SMEs and start-ups and particularly the Bind 4.0 programme, the incentives to start-up and the section on highly interesting projects, such as Europe’s largest gene therapy production centre with Viralgen, the US company.

The support for foreign companies already established in the Basque Country, known as the aftercare strategy, seeks to keep the decision-making centres in the Basque Country, involving intense efforts by the SPRI Group’s Invest in the Basque Country team with regular visits to those companies to discover their needs, consolidate them by means of greater cooperation with the ecosystem and participation in R&D projects and with the ultimate aim of avoiding possible relocations.

The Basque Country currently has over 1,000 foreign capital companies with over 10 employees that account for 10% of the total companies and employ over 52,000 people. Industry accounts for nearly 46% of the foreign investment companies and their medium size is greater than the average. In 2015, those companies contributed over 13% to the GDP and accounted for 9.9% of employment between 2008 and 2015.

On the other hand, Basque industrial policy has had a special impact on SMEs and start-up creation. Thus, the Bind 4.0 accelerator programme, launched by the Basque Government and managed by SPRI three years ago, was recognised as a project of interest due its impact on attracting foreign investment.  Proof of this is that the latest edition of the programme received 524 applications from 64 different countries. These applications were analysed by 40 Basque trailblazing companies which have selected 32 start-ups with which to work on a total of 44 projects.  Thirteen of these 32 companies are from outside the Basque Country and 5 of them are foreigners.

The report has also stressed the investment incentive system and, above all, the implementation of R&D projects in the Basque Country. This incentive system, which also includes tax incentives, is the same that Basque companies are offered and it is also very attractive to foreign capital companies that want to set up in the Basque Country.

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