The entrepreneurial ecosystem gains maturity, employability and seeks opportunities for growth in 'green business'

The entrepreneurial ecosystem gains maturity, employability and seeks opportunities for growth in 'green business'
South Summit presents Entrepreneurship Map 2023, developed in collaboration with IE University.

South Summit's Entrepreneurship Map 2023, developed in collaboration with IE University, highlights that the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem has consolidated the path to maturity thanks to the growing number of startups that accumulate more years of traction in the market, among other factors. In 2023, Spanish startups are on average 3.12 years old, when this statistic in 2019 reached 2.2 years. In addition, 17% of startups in Spain are already scaleups and 4% have a consolidated business.

This solidity is also seen in their employability: 68% of startups in Spain have between 2 and 10 employees, 35% have more than 10 employees in their first year and 2 out of 3 expect to hire more employees in the next year.

Entrepreneurs are aware that this maturity and growth can only be maintained with innovation and, above all, with an ecological and sustainable perspective. In fact, Green Business has burst onto the scene as the fourth most popular industry in the global entrepreneurial ecosystem, and already accounts for 5% of all newly created startups. Fintech repeats as the most popular industry (6.5%), although down slightly from the 7.3% achieved last year, followed by Healthcare and software development.

In the field of innovation, the report highlights the explosion of AI in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, which is becoming a key tool for startups: 1 in 4 have incorporated it into their processes, ahead of apps.

The maturity of the ecosystem has contributed to the reduction of startup registration times, as now more than 40% are legally registered at the same time they start to develop their business idea, which indicates that the process is becoming faster and faster.

To prepare the 'Entrepreneurship Map 2023', a report that analyzes the main trends in the global entrepreneurial ecosystem, more than 2,800 projects registered for the Startup Competition at the last edition of South Summit Madrid were analyzed, 80% of which are international.

The presentation of this study took place today at IE University, in an event chaired by María Benjumea, founder and president of South Summit; Juan José Güemes, Vice President of IE University and President of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at IE University, and Salvador Aragón, Chief Innovation Officer at IE University.

The event also counted with the presence and participation of Carme Artigas, Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence; Rocío Albert, Councilor of Economy, Finance and Employment of the Community of Madrid, and Engracia Hidalgo, Delegate of the Area of Economy, Innovation and Finance of the Madrid City Council.

Juan José Güemes, Vice President of IE University, highlighted the Entrepreneurship Map as "the start of the year for South Summit, but also a sample with results of how the entrepreneurial ecosystem is growing, how every year there are more investors, and how its impact can transform the Spanish economy".

During the presentation of the Entrepreneurship Map 2023, María Benjumea pointed out that "financing always came first when we asked startups about their list of priorities; now that list is topped by organizational capabilities to leverage talent, which is the engine of every startup and the differentiating factor for them to grow".

In her turn, Carme Artigas, Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence, highlighted the growing maturity of the ecosystem. "Compared to ten years ago, we can say that the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem has reached maturity. We have already become a destination country for entrepreneurs and investors".

On the other hand, for Rocío Albert, Councilor of Economy, Finance and Employment of the Community of Madrid, "the data of the Entrepreneurship Map have proved us right in our support for the self-employed. The solopreneur who started as a freelancer and evolves to create his own startup is an increasingly relevant actor and we see that is a source of entrepreneurship, hence we give them all our support".

“The future depends on innovation and talent. In Madrid, as we have seen in the Entrepreneurship Map, businesses have more and more projection and are more consolidated in less time. We have found that with €1 of investment in innovation a return of €7 is achieved, so any effort we make from the administrations is worthwhile,” said Engracia Hidalgo, Delegate of the Area of Economy, Innovation and Finance of the Madrid City Council.

The ecosystem calls for more public funding

The drive for entrepreneurship is also reflected in the support for financing. Even though own funds continue to be the main means of financing new startups, with 44%, its importance decreases year after year, in favor of private funds, which reach 33% and grow 22 percentage points since 2018.

For its part, public funds, whose share has grown 2 percentage points compared to 2020, represents 7% of the financing of companies, surpassing crowfunding and bank credit. In this sense, Salvador Aragón, Chief Innovation Officer of IE University, highlighted that “this is the first time since we have been doing the Entrepreneurship Map that public investment exceeds the 7% barrier. We are witnessing the entry of a player that was not relevant before and now may become fundamental. The impact of public funds as an engine of growth for startups is a magnificent example of what has been called the entrepreneurial State as an engine of innovation”.

The Spanish startup entrepreneur is a serial entrepreneur and is more qualified than the European entrepreneur.

This new edition of the 'Entrepreneurship Map 2023' also highlights the high qualification of entrepreneurs in Spain, which stands as the most qualified region ahead of North America and the rest of Europe. In fact, 79% of Spanish startup entrepreneurs have a master's degree and/or doctorate, a figure that significantly exceeds that of their counterparts in Europe (76%) and North America (62%).

In addition to being highly qualified, startup founders in Spain are characterized by their consistency: 6 out of 10 are serial entrepreneurs and have participated in the creation of at least two startups in their lifetime.

The professional background of entrepreneurs in Spain is consolidated. 49% have worked as an employee in a company, while the number of self-employed people who decide to start up a business is increasing, accounting for 13% of new entrepreneurs and ahead of former startup employees (8%).

Women entrepreneurs

The incorporation of women into the ecosystem is still a pending issue in Spain. The 80%-20% ratio of male to female founders in Spanish startups has barely changed in a decade, according to the report conducted by South Summit in collaboration with IE University.

In this context, 59% of startups are founded only by men, while mixed teams represent 1 in 3 new startups, and those formed only by women increased from 6% in 2002 to 8% this year.

Regarding the proportion of men and women in CEO positions, in startups founded only by men, 100% have a male CEO, while startups founded only by women have 28% male CEOs. Meanwhile, startups with mixed teams the 80/20 ratio holds true with respect to the gender of their CEOs.

In the decade that we have been doing the Entrepreneurship Map the percentage between men and women remains exactly the same. We women must ask ourselves how we can convince ourselves that it is worthwhile to take the plunge into entrepreneurship,” said María Benjumea.

What is the profile of the female entrepreneur? They are more highly qualified than men: 75% have a master's degree compared to 65% of male entrepreneurs and 16% have a doctorate compared to 14% of men. As for the industries with the highest female presence, Healthcare startups continue to occupy first place, followed by Education and Green Business. In addition, this year sectors such as Agrotech or Software Development are incorporated.

Many successes, few patents

The 'Entrepreneurship Map 2023' also reflects the intrinsic value of the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem through the percentage of projects sold, a classification that Spain leads with almost 60% of its startups reaching success. This figure places our country 7 percentage points above Europe and 9 above North America and reflects the resilience of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the face of a 30% drop in the volume of investment in Spanish startups during the first half of 2023 (data from the Bankinter Foundation's Startup Observatory).

On the opposite side of the scale is the percentage of patents developed by startups: only 15% claim to have developed a patent during 2023. A percentage that has not changed since last year and that places our country below almost all the regions analyzed.

During the presentation of the Entrepreneurship Map 2023, the 12th edition of South Summit was announced, which will take place from June 5th to 7th at La Nave in Madrid under the slogan 'Human by Design', as well as the opening of the Startup Competition that will decide the 100 finalist startups of the meeting. Last year's edition of South Summit Madrid had the institutional support of Spain Up Nation, the Community of Madrid and the Madrid City Council, as well as Mutua Madrileña, Google for Startups, BBVA Spark, Endesa, Toptal, Wayra - Telefónica Innovation and Banco Sabadell's BStartup.

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