35. Spain

This country profile highlights current inclusive entrepreneurship policy issues and recent developments in Spain. It also presents self-employment and entrepreneurship data for women, youth, seniors and immigrants relative to the average for the European Union.

Entrepreneurship conditions are on par with the European Union (EU) average. Administrative burdens for business are relatively low and SME lending is around the EU median and has been improving since 2014. Entrepreneurship support has expanded in recent years and is mostly offered through general entrepreneurship programmes. However, a number of measures are in place to facilitate entrepreneurship among under-represented and disadvantaged groups, especially for the unemployed, youth and women.

In the period 2016-20, the early-stage entrepreneurship rate increased (5%) yet remained below the EU average (6%), except among seniors (50-64 years old) (10% vs. 4%). Necessity entrepreneurship played a larger role for entrepreneurial activities than on average across the EU, notably among seniors (38% vs. 24%) and women (33% vs. 21%). If all groups engaged in early-stage entrepreneurship at the same rate as core-age men, there would be 608 000 more entrepreneurs. About 60% of these “missing” entrepreneurs are female and 60% are over 50 years old. However, immigrants are over-represented.

Self-employment rates have been relatively stable over the last decade. While the women’s self-employment rate is nearly 2 percentage points higher than the EU average, women (34%) remain significantly less likely to be self-employed relative to men (66%).

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, national level support measures for the self-employed were introduced. These included a social security contribution exemption, a financial support equivalent to 70% of the amount due for a full cessation of activity and under certain conditions, self-employed workers and SMEs received backing for 80% of new loans, credit facilities and renewals of pre-existing agreements. Regional measures, for example, in Andalusia were also introduced. From 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, self-employed workers and micro-enterprises benefitted from microcredits ranging from EUR 9 000 to EUR 15 000 guaranteed by Garántia (duration of 3-5 years). From September 2020 to 30 October 2021, the region provided two additional lines of subsidies for the self-employed with a total budget of EUR 14 million (EUR 9 million for the first line and EUR 5 million for the second). The first line aimed to help the general economic activity of self-employed workers with an individual subsidy of EUR 1 200 while the second line specifically targeted economic activity related to night life and recreational establishments for children with a EUR 4 000 subsidy.

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