While the number of Spanish companies sadly continues to decline, the number of foreign entrepreneurs opening new businesses on the Costa Blanca is actually increasing! In 2012, the number of foreign self-employed businesses rose by 452, bringing the total to 14,628 in the region according to a recent study by the National Federation of Self-Employed Business Associations (ATA).
Some of this success is based on the actual manner in which these businesses are funded. While lack of credit is a serious frustration for many aspiring Spanish entrepreneurs, their foreign counterparts don’t seem to have this problem as many start their project with “informal loans” from friends, relatives or acquaintances.
“It’s a cultural thing,” explains Guillermo Guerrero, author of the report. “It seems odd to a Spaniard to ask four friends to loan us 2,000 euros each so that we have the 8,000 Euros we need to open a shop, but for the Chinese or African it’s perfectly normal.”
So who are these new aspiring business leaders? Amongst the most active recently are the Chinese, mainly because traditionally they are a culture steeped in strong networks of informal financial support from friends and family. The Chinese account for 1 in every 4 new self-employed business registered. Following them are Rumanians, then other nationalities such as Moroccans, Bulgarians or Pakistanis. Interestingly, the number of self-employed Brits, Germans or Italians working on the Costa Blanca is slowly declining, according to the same report.
In terms of business types, the most popular endeavour for foreign entrepreneurs remains retail, with 4,368 new shops having opened in 2012. Next are bars and restaurants with 3,440, followed by 911 businesses dedicated to providing administrative services such as solicitors or translators etc.
Finally, 537 new real estate agencies were started by foreigners – 83 more than a year ago – an encouraging sign that international property sales are slowly recovering on the Costa Blanca. What’s also encouraging about this latest report is that the majority of these new businesses manage to consolidate their activities and also create new jobs!
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