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The value of Spain’s entrepreneurial ecosystem increases twentyfold over the last decade, reaching €83 billion this year

South Summit celebrates its 10th anniversary this year

With 11,100 startups employing 140,000 people, Spain is fourth-placed in Europe in terms of startups, and has 6,446 private investors, 366 investment groups, 149 accelerators and 99 incubators.

South Summit, powered by IE University, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, between June 8-11, having established itself as the event for key players to meet and connect within the global entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem.

Since it was launched 10 years ago, the goal of South Summit has been to generate business opportunities within the global innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

At an event in Madrid as part of this anniversary, South Summit today presented The socio-economic contribution of South Summit in Spain, a report prepared by consulting firm PwC, analyzing the evolution of the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem over the last decade.

One of the main conclusions of the report is that the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem has grown exponentially since the appearance of South Summit a decade ago, increasing its value twentyfold to €83 billion, equivalent to 14% of the combined share price of Spain’s index of leading companies, the Ibex-35.

Currently, the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem is made up of 11,100 startups employing 140,000 people, and already has 6,446 private investors, 366 investment groups, 149 accelerators and 99 incubators, making it fourth in Europe in terms of the number of startups after the United Kingdom, France and Germany (not included in PwC’s short report).

The current value of Spain’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is due to its ability to attract investment by startups, whose compound annual rate has grown by 48% between 2012 and 2021, while South Summit has multiplied by eight the number of investors attending its various editions.

South Summit, a catalyst for the growth of Spain’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

What impact has South Summit had on the growth of Spain’s entrepreneurial ecosystem? According to PwC’s report, more than half of the investment in Spanish startups has been through South Summit finalist projects. In addition, the survival rate of the finalist startups over the last ten years is double the average for Spain as a whole.

South Summit finalist startups have also seen their turnover multiplied 5.5 times from the year of their participation to the present, reaching €3.1 billion. At the same time, they have made a huge contribution to employment, multiplying by 2.6 to reach 25,000 jobs today.

Reiterating the event’s commitment to driving the Spanish economy, María Benjumea, founder and CEO of South Summit, said:

“We were born in 2012, at the worst moment of the crisis, with the vision that innovation and entrepreneurship are the key driver for economic development and with a very clear objective: to position Spain as a global benchmark. And I believe, without a doubt, that we have achieved this in these ten years.”

Madrid, driving Spain’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

Madrid is Spain’s leading investment pole, having overtaken Barcelona for the first time, the leader until 2021. According to PwC’s The socio-economic contribution of South Summit in Spain, Madrid is already one of Europe’s leading hubs, with an ecosystem made up of 3,000 startups employing 40,000 people. In addition, it is the second European city in terms of flotations, above 100 million euros in 2020, and the fourth in number of venture capital investment rounds.

Along with Madrid and Barcelona, other Spanish cities are gaining importance in the country’s innovation ecosystem, such as Valencia, Bilbao and Malaga respectively (not included in PwC’s short report).

During the presentation of the report, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, Mayor of Madrid, said: “Looking back, we can draw many lessons. At this difficult time as a nation, due to the pandemic, South Summit is a success story to know how to manage; it is a manual of good practices. Innovation and entrepreneurship are the best weapons to face the challenging future ahead of us.”

Carme Artigas, Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence, noted: “We are talking about what will probably be the decisive decade for digital entrepreneurship in our country; the decade that has set the trends and dynamics of a digital revolution that is here to stay.”

Francisco Polo, High Commissioner for España Nación Emprendedora, added: “There is one piece of data that excites us and shows an opportunity and that is that Spain is the fifth European country with the most startups with the potential to become unicorns.”

“In order to encourage more and more Madrileños to become entrepreneurs, we will continue to expand freedom of action for those who take risks, fighting against over-regulation and firmly committed to low taxation. This is how confidence is generated so that new companies can operate without fear that each new activity will be followed by a new requirement or tax,” pledged Javier Fernández-Lasquetty, Minister of Economy, Finance and Employment of the Regional Government of Madrid.

Begoña Villacís, Deputy Mayor of Madrid, concluded: “Today we regularly talk about innovation and startups, we are used to it in our language, in the initiatives we carry out. But South Summit dreamed this in the middle of the economic crisis, so we have to value it; you have to be very brave to do that.”

“We have always supported innovative and enterprising people, and we especially support those who lead society and are willing to make companies out of their dreams and their opportunities. Societies survive thanks to that vanguard at the forefront of the future,” said Diego del Alcázar y Silvela, founder and President of IE University.

“South Summit is an organization that for 10 years has been promoting the value of the best entrepreneurs, their symbiosis with investors and the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem; and that is why we support them and applaud their success.”

Diego del Alcázar y Silvela, Founder and President of IE University

Welcoming attendees to the event, Juan José Güemes, President of the IE University Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, highlighted IE University’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship “as drivers of job creation, wealth and social welfare. With this objective in mind, we joined South Summit 10 years ago to support entrepreneurial talent and promote investment opportunities. And today we are proud to confirm that South Summit has become one of the most important entrepreneurship platforms in the world.”

Ten years of commitment to open innovation

South Summit was also created with the aim of promoting a culture of open business innovation by creating synergies between startups, corporations and investors to exchange ideas and drive innovation. Over the last decade, South Summit has contributed to the generation of more than 12,000 conversations between these players; an innovation formula that more and more corporations have signed up to. At present, 95% of Ibex-35 companies take advantage of this approach.

Over the last 10 years, corporate investment in Spanish startups has grown from €44 million in 2013 to €649 million last year.

South Summit Madrid 2022, ‘[de]coding complexity’.

The 10th edition of South Summit will be held at La Nave in Madrid, from June 8 to 10, under the slogan ‘[de]coding complexity’. The objective? To bring to the attention of the entrepreneurial ecosystem the advances in technology, the speed of innovation and the challenge of combating climate change, in addition to analyzing innovative solutions that provide answers to this complex world.

The content of this edition will be based on eight themes: Intelligent-Complex Systems, ClimateTech, Decentralisation, Sustainably, Innovation & Ecosystems, FinTech, Value Based Business, and New Dimensions.

South Summit will feature more than 300 top international speakers, who will discuss these key issues in the world of innovation.

Among them will be Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a non-profit educational organization that offers free math, science and humanities lessons in 51 languages; Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, Youth and Sport, responsible for programs such as Horizon Europe and Erasmus+; and Marc Oshima, co-founder of AeroFarms, a world leader in indoor vertical farming, considered one of the most innovative companies in the world by Fast Company.

According to PwC’s report, South Summit this year is expected to generate around €20 million in the city of Madrid over the course of four days, with more than 22,000 attendees expected to this essential event for the entrepreneurial ecosystem and global innovation.
Last year’s event broke attendance and participation records, with more than 22,000 physical and virtual attendees, more than 1,600 investors with a portfolio of approximately 135,000 million dollars, 8,000 startups, 680 speakers and 7,000 members of corporations.