When moving to Asturias, and Spain in general, finding a job can be quite challenging. Without a decent level of Spanish, the job opportunities are sparse. Therefore, an increasing number of people is starting up their own business. Being self-employed has many benefits, such as more freedom, financial gains and above all the possibility to fully use your qualities and skills. But entrepreneurs also face many challenges and discouragements, not in the least the administrative hassles. Because every country has its own rules and laws, registering your firm can be a real maze. We went to talk with Ana of Gijón Impulsa, who speaks English, about what it takes to get your business started and how to be succesful.
- What do you need to start a business in Asturias?
It’s only necessary to have an idea. Asturias has experienced many years of deep economic crisis. Our unemployment rate is high. Therefore many people have decided to start their own businesses.
- How do you best prepare?
There is a higher probability of success if you have some kind of education, training and experience in the business you want to start.
- Can you get help?
Gijón Impulsa helps the entrepreneur to study, test, analyze his/her business idea. They offer mentoring, assistance to do the business plan, financial aid, loans, space for starting to launch the project…
Other big cities in Asturias have also have a service to support young companies like Oviedo Emprende and Avilés Empresas.
- How and where do you register? Physically or online?
You can register both physically as online. The steps depend on the legal form the enterprise adopts. There are two main forms: Entrepreneur (or Self-employment) and Corporation.
The benefits of being self-employed is that you don’t need any initial capital and that social security is cheaper. But you have full liability, which is otherwise limited to your company’s capital.
(Editor’s note: based on the conversation we Ana we made the following table which includes being self-employed and the three most common corporation forms Sociedad de responsabilidad Limitada, Sociedad de responsibilidad Limitada Laboral and the Sociedad Anónima)
- Can you get any subsidies?
Yes, there are three possible subsidies for entrepreneurs.
1.- Unemployment benefits. There’s the possibility of receiving the whole amount of the unemployment benefits an unemployed person is entitle to, for the investment necessary to start a new business or to cover the Social Security costs; or a combination of both.
2.- Social Security. There are discounts in the Social Security minimum tax if it’s the first time an entrepreneur enrolls the system as self-employed.
50 euros/month the first year – 50% discount the next six months (about 150 euros/month) – 30% discount the next six months (about 200 euros/month)
In case of male, under the age of 30; female, under the age of 35, the last discount (30%) lasts for the next 12 months.
3.- Other subsidies. There are other possible subsidies for the starting of new businesses, from the Principality of Asturias or the local governments. There can also be subsidies for specific projects or depending on the entrepreneur profile or type of company, such as subsidies for technological projects, for craft businesses…
- Does it matter which nationality you have?
No, it does not matter. But in order to get local subsidies, the entrepreneur or company must have the business address in Asturias/specific city.
- Where can you rent a workplace?
There is the private market, but Gijón Impulsa offers several kinds of workplaces, such as coworking space, offices, industrial plants,… in different locations around the city: Cristasa (La Calzada), Science and Technology Park (Cabueñes), industrial areas… The size, price and requirements for renting those spaces depend on the specific workspace needed.
(Editor’s note: Other business administrations also offer spaces. Oviedo Emprende offers Talud de la Ería and Avilés Empresas has La Curtidora. Further there’s CEEI, or Centro Europeo de Empresas e Innovación. They support the creation of new businesses out of existing businesses, and specific modern, innovating businesses.)
- What kind of companies can be successful? What is a booming sector?
It’s hard to tell. Asturias was mainly an industrial economy many years ago but for the last 25/30 years it has been turning into a more service oriented economy. Many new entrepreneurs focus on basic services such as restaurants, coffee shops, education (languages, support for students…). There are also new small engineering companies that offer services to the big industries: Arcelor (steel), Dupont (chemical),… The industrial engineering university is in Gijón. And there are also initiatives around the new technologies, telecommunications… specially supported by the national and local administrations.
- How to find your customers?
You can get help from the local governments. Impulsa, for example, has two mentoring programs, basic and medium, where the entrepreneurs get information about how to make market studies, how to get to the potential customer,… They can also offer specific workshops about this matter.