Image | Ken Douglas
Acció, the Catalonian Regional Government’s Competitiveness Agency, functions to continuously seek out opportunities boosting Catalonia’s business community. Specialized in promoting local companies’ innovation and internationalization, it boasts 32 offices throughout the world.
Within Acció several working lines are explored: growth solutions for SMBs, microcompanies, clusters, and also for startups. It is regarding the latter, and under the auspices of the Start-Up Catalonia Program that the Esprint Plan exists as a comprehensive effort to promote the international growth of newly-created Catalonian companies.
For 8 months Catalonian startups enrolled in the plan will accelerate their growth, in terms of both development and turnover, thanks to intensive, individualized and high-level assistance.
The Esprint Plan is aimed at companies founded less than 5 years ago that find themselves in the middle of a growth process. They are to have at least 3 people dedicated to the project full time, and a maximum of 15 employees. Companies wishing to benefit from the plan are to have an approved service or product on the market, and be willing to open up to new markets in one year or less.
There is no requirement with regards to the activity sector, although the admission criteria vary depending on the area the startup operates in.
Image Stephen Coles
These four services make up the framework of the Esprint Plan:
Internationalization: A service devised to define the target market, analyze it according to the specific needs of each company, and make an individual business trip with a list of contacts to establish business opportunities. 120 hours of consulting services valued at €4,800.
Tactical follow-up: This service assigns each company a specialized mentor, a flexible coach with an entrepreneurial profile who is an expert in the growth of startups. A service featuring 40 hours of mentoring valued at €3,200.
Strategic follow-up: The plan calls for the formation of an advisory board to talk about the startup with people having specific experience with the challenges identified. Up to 3 people with a complementary profile will join the tutor to promote the company selected through 4 2-hour sessions valued at €3,200.
Businesspeople +: High-level partners will participate in this service, designed to prepare and train the team of workers at the startups participating in the plan. The service includes dynamic networking and workshops that will address areas related to financing, commercialization and strategic management. A total of 72 hours, valued at €6,000, plus specialized consulting in the three areas, valued at €1,500.
All combined, more than €18,000 of investment in newly-created Catalonian companies, with a view to accelerating them so that they can become multinational in just a short time.
Startups interested in participating in the Esprint Plan will have to submit their applications before 29 December, 2014.
When doing so they will need to closely follow these instructions.
The Esprint Plan simultaneously showcases the actions undertaken by the Regional Government of Catalonia to provide incentives driving economic activity, while also constituting a firm commitment to talent and innovation in the region.