Institution: UCEIF Foundation-CISE / GEM Spain Network
Survey Vendor: Instituto Opinòmetre S.L.
Funders: Santander Bank

GEM Spain Network

Fundación Rafael Del Pino
Key Indicators
TEA: 5.5%
Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity: percentage of 18-64 population who are either a nascent entrepreneur or owner-manager of a new business
Established Business Ownership: 7.0%
Percentage of 18-64 population who are currently an owner-manager of an established business, i.e., owning and managing a running business that has paid salaries, wages, or any other payments to the owners for more than 42 months
Perceived Opportunities: 23%
Percentage of 18-64 population (individuals involved in any stage of entrepreneurial activity excluded) who see good opportunities to start a firm in the area where they live
Perceived Capabilities: 48%
Percentage of 18-64 population (individuals involved in any stage of entrepreneurial activity excluded) who believe they have the required skills and knowledge to start a business
Entrepreneurial Intention: 7.1%
Percentage of 18-64 population (individuals involved in any stage of entrepreneurial activity excluded) who are latent entrepreneurs and who intend to start a business within three years
Fear of Failure: 38%
Percentage of 18-64 population (individuals involved in any stage of entrepreneurial activity excluded) who indicate that fear of failure would prevent them from setting up a business

Stable levels of entrepreneurial activity - albeit lower than pre-crisis levels and the European average

Most recent data: 2014

A high unemployment rate continues to be a major problem for the Spanish economy. The results of GEM 2014 show that the percentage of entrepreneurs who launch businesses motivated by a lack of access to the labour market has been increasing in recent years. These new firms, in many cases, are not very competitive when it comes to extending their business beyond the critical first five years of existence. Their owners lack the ambition, and often the capacity/skills, to expand their businesses. 

Although firm size does not seem to increase much during the early stage of new ventures (averaging 1-3 employees), new businesses do tend to make it into the marketplace. Spain's business discontinuation rate is lower than that found in other advanced economies.

The average entrepreneur in Spain is around 39 years old, with 35.4% of the total falling between 35 and 44 years of age. Indeed, adult individuals in this age range are the most likely to be involved in entrepreneurial activity, which suggests that the average Spanish entrepreneur has some previous experience before starting up a business, especially during the economic recession. 

Most entrepreneurs are male, although the gender gap narrowed in 2014. About half have higher education and almost 50% have received specific training for entrepreneurship. Individuals with high income levels are more likely to start up than those with lower income levels.

Enablers and Constraints

According to the experts interviewed as part of the National Experts Survey, the major enablers of entrepreneurship in Spain are:

  • a positive valuation of innovation from the consumer’s point of view. In other words, Spanish consumers are interested in testing innovative products/services;
  • availability and access to physical and service infrastructures (i.e. ports, roads, renewable and sustainable energy, utilities, technology and communication), providing good support for new and growing enterprises.

However, entrepreneurship in Spain is also highly constrained by governmental policies and financing for entrepreneurs. In particular:

  • Onerous bureaucracy and a heavy tax burden (i.e. higher contributions to Social Security and corporate income tax) slow down the entrepreneurial process (i.e. start-up, growth and consolidation).
  • Problems raising funding was a major constraint and cause of failure for entrepreneurs. During recessions, financing for entrepreneurs is more difficult because there is limited access to credit and a lack of cash flow in companies.

Area of Focus: Entrepreneurship and Education 

In 2014, the Spanish GEM team took a closer look into the relationship between entrepreneurship and education.  It found that:

  • In Spain there is a growing number of initiatives which set out to promote the entrepreneurial spirit, from both public and private institutions;
  • The current Law on Education and the recently adopted Law for Improving the Quality of Education recognise the need to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit of young people, fostering creativity, flexibility, initiative, teamwork and self confidence;
  • This progress is welcome; however, efforts need to be intensified if they are to produce real change in society.

Trends Over Time

Entrepreneurial activity in Spain has suffered the effects of the economic recession. The TEA rate decreased from 2008 to 2010, and after a slight increase it remains lower than the levels experienced just before the beginning of the recession (7% in 2007). The relative prevalence of nascent entrepreneurship has increased during the last five years.

Challenges for the Future

The big challenge is tackling the high unemployment rate, which is forcing people to start up businesses. Necessity-driven entrepreneurship can often mean the creation of new businesses which struggle to survive in the long run. 

It is important to reduce the costs of failure in order to encourage people to experiment. Compared to OECD countries, it takes more than twice the effort (in terms of time and the number of procedures to complete) to start up in Spain. Thereby, reducing bureaucratic barriers to start up is a major challenge. Lack of financing is also a barrier that must be overcome.

Spain Reports

Report information
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: National Reports
  • Language: Spanish
  • Upload date: 2016-04-25

  • This report discusses entrepreneurship in the EUROACE region i.e. the three European regions of Alentejo, Centro and Extremadura, in the period June 2014 to February 2015. 7.6% of the population between 18 and 64 years old has been involved in entrepreneurial activities in the EUROACE region. The Portuguese region of Centro obtained the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity (TEA) with 7.8% of entrepreneurs, whereas Alentejo has 7.1% and the Spanish region of Extremadura 7.4%.
  • URL:
GEM Euroace 2014-2015 Report - Alentejo (Portugal), Centro (Portugal), Extremadura (Spain)
Report information
GEM Spain 2015 Report
Report information
GEM Spain 2013 Report
Report information
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: National Reports
  • Language: Spanish
  • Upload date: 2015-03-27

  • A special report on the 'Euroace' region, composed of Alentejo (Portugal), Centro (Portugal) and Extremadura (Spain).

  • URL:
GEM Euroace 2014 Report - Alentejo (Portugal), Centro (Portugal), Extremadura (Spain)
Report information
GEM Spain 2014 Report