If I were to imagine tekMountain scaled up with Spanish flair it would look something like Barcelona Tech City. Founded by local entrepreneurs in the city, Barcelona Tech City is a private non-profit association which already represents more than 800 companies. These companies range from early start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors, incubators, accelerators, government agencies, business schools… you get the picture. The mission of the association is to position Barcelona as one of the main international technology hubs. With all this growth the company plans to expand to anywhere from four to six other buildings all around Barcelona; having them create more selected industries per building.
I met Jordi upon my entrance next to the security booth inside Barcelona Tech City. Jordi is 42 from Barcelona and has been working at Barcelona Tech City on and off since their founding in 2013. He is the International Affairs Officer. During our introductions we found out that Jordi’s best friend lives in Halifax – what a small world. Jordi kindly toured me around the 12,000 square meter building showing me four floors of innovative thinkers and things like colourful private office rooms, a coffee shop, and a speaking/presentation hall. During this tour Jordi explained their stance in the tech industry. Unlike my past interviews, this one will be filling you in on who Barcelona Tech City is (my day 34 vlog gives a quick rundown but I will jump into further detail here).
Pier 01, where Barcelona Tech City resides, and the rest of these buildings they will expand to are owned by the Port Authority, Barcelona Tech City manages them. They move into buildings that are empty and drive growth and business to the area, so it creates a win win scenario.
Jordi says Barcelona Tech City is not as international as he would like. 65% of the companies are from Spain and 35% are international.
The most interesting point for me was that over 50% of the companies in the building are millennial; I am excited to hopefully get to interview some. Jordi says that millennials do not want to work for corporations any longer. They would rather work in much more flexible markets like start-ups.
I am excited to go back down to the beautiful waterfront and talk to some businesses within the association. I appreciate Jordi opening up doors, literally and figuratively, for me and I plan to grab a coffee with him again while I’m still in the city.