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Factsheet for measure ES-1986-1/2558 – measures in Spain

Local Development Agency - Barcelona Activa

Agencia de Desarrollo Local - Barcelona Activa

Country Spain , applies regionally

    • – ES5 ESTE
Time period Open ended, started on 01 January 1986
Context Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Employment protection and retention
– Other
Author Jessica Durán (IKEI) and Eurofound
Measure added 23 June 2022 (updated 03 November 2022)

Background information

Barcelona Activa is a municipal company of the city council of Barcelona which was created in 1986 in order to cope with the economic restructuring that Barcelona was experiencing after the industrial crisis. Its aims are to promote entrepreneurship; to support and promote business creation; to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship; and to stimulate innovation in SMEs.

It is available to companies, employees and unemployed people in Barcelona.

Content of measure

According to their action plan, Barcelona Activa offers four main services:

  • Business creation and entrepreneurship support: It coaches more than 1,000 business projects each year and provides the entrepreneurs with a wide range of services and products to turn their business ideas into reality. The training is carried out by means of a blended model methodology that mixes on-site and online support, complemented by a large offer of training activities.
  • Innovative business consolidation and growth: The activities and services included here are the business incubator and the Barcelona Nord Technology Park, the 'Xarxactiva' Business Network, which is a space where entrepreneurs can exchange ideas, learn and do business, the mentoring programme and the itineraries for growth which include training actions for business growth.
  • Human capital development and new employment opportunities: There is a Portal Jobs Space (the so-called Porta 22) that provides citizens a free access space to find work, orient their professional future and evolve in the labour market.
  • Access to and improvement of employment: Barcelona Activa offers labour market orientation to unemployed (itineraries for professional insertion), training (vocational and tailor-made training in sectors with high demand for professionals), inclusion programmes (the Programme for Socio-Labour Inclusion, the programme for New Opportunities of Access to Work for women, the Youth Plan Training-Employment), and work experience programmes that combine training and work experience (Workshop Schools, Trade Skills Houses, Employment Workshops, Employment Plans). Cibernarium provides access to the new technologies.

The collaboration with the public employment services at regional level allows Barcelona Activa to share information in order to monitor trajectories of their users.

Barcelona Nord Technology Park offers an example of the services provided by Barcelona Activa. It is a municipal facility equipped with cutting-edge infrastructures for incubating innovative technology companies in the engineering field. The 46 companies installed there have access to logistical and administrative services, ongoing advice and information services, business training and a networking and relations platform.

Use of measure

In 31 years (1987-2018), Barcelona Activa has helped to create 24,671 companies and served more than 652,000 people. From 2009 to 2017, entrepreneurs and companies that have been supportted by Barcelona Activa raised more than €183 million of finance to start new business projects or strengthen them. In 2018, 2,371 new business projects were financially assisted and 13,780 people were assisted in entrepreneurship. On average, 80% of the companies developed in the 'enterprise incubator' continue their activity after their fourth year (Barcelona Activa 2017 , 2018 ).

Strengths: This instrument can anticipate and react to change. It has a reliable knowledge of the demands of employers, as well as of skill gaps in the workforce. It encourages the creation of enterprises in growing sectors and activities.

Weaknesses: Although Barcelona Activa has developed actions to increase the accessibility of its services with certain groups (e.g., technological training services for women) (Eticas Foundation 2018), the service shows lower levels of coverage of certain vulnerable profiles (for example non-EU migrants) (Yufra and Lorenzo, 2018).

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Local / regional government
Public employment service
European Funds
Local funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown



Views and reactions



  • 26 October 2009: OECD (2009), 'Promoting entrepreneurship, employment and business competitiveness, The Experience of Barcelona' OECD Leed Programme, Paris (
  • 01 January 2019: Yufra, L. y Santamaría Lorenzo, E. (2018), Para no estar sin hacer nada”: formación para la inserción laboral de personas inmigrantes en Barcelona. Cuadernos de Trabajo Social. 32, 1 December 2018), 73-84. (
  • 28 October 2022: Ajuntament de Barcelona (undated), Barcelona Activa, web page (
  • 28 October 2022: Barcelona Activa (2018), Activity report, Spain (


Eurofound (2022), Local Development Agency - Barcelona Activa, measure ES-1986-1/2558 (measures in Spain), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.