Making Catalonia an internationally competitive brand


You mention the words Catalonia or Catalan elsewhere in Spain and the same stereotypes come up: always on time, good at making and budgeting money, and excellent at business. It’s possible these stereotypes are grounded in truth. While making up about 15 percent of the Spanish population, the region accounts for one-fifth of the nation’s economic output, one percent of the world’s technical patents, and has seen significant growth four out of the five years of economic crisis that has most of the other 16 Spanish regions at a standstill or decline.

Perhaps Catalonia’s economic stability is due to the region having about 400 public relations and economic advocates located in Barcelona and 34 offices worldwide, which are split into ACC10, a global organization that promotes Catalan business abroad, and Invest in Catalonia, which looks to attract foreign investors to the region. Together, they create an independent consulting agency that earns incomes and profits off of the companies it represents, along with some regional government subsidization.

According to Stephen Ozoigbo, a senior ACC10 consultant, it isn’t unheard of in general for somewhat autonomous regions, states and provinces within countries to spread their economic wingspan with promotional offices abroad. Ozoigbo said Quebec, Canada has about double the offices and resources Catalonia has, while the state of California is opening an office in China. He continued to explain that Spain has the typical trade and investment offices attached to its embassies and the regions of the Basque Country, Valencia, and Andalusia all have offices or representatives abroad, but none have operations of the magnitude and expanse of Catalonia.

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