Together with my colleague, Arash, we both have lived in Madrid, Spain, since 2014 and helped numerous companies land on the Spanish market and recruit key executives and managers to Spain.

In this article, we want to share our own experiences and give our point of view of why international companies might want to consider Spain and especially Madrid when they are looking for ways to expand into new markets. 

For many people, Spain is mainly sunny beaches, paella, and tapas. But  how about the business side of it?

Yes, Spain, for many people, is the Costa Del Sol, which basically has nothing to do with the real Spain. Yes, it’s a big part of Spain and a very beautiful one which also has great importance when it comes to business and the Spanish economy. But honestly, if a person has seen  only Marbella, Mijas, Benalmadena, Torremolinos, or the Canary Islands, unfortunately, the picture of Spain is pretty narrow and incomplete. 

Madrid and Barcelona offer the  professional and corporate side of Spain. In Madrid, there are over 6 million people, and it’s full of opportunities when it comes to business. It is also relatively easy to access the market and start a business if you are an international company with  the right product, software, or service. 

Why should companies look to Spain, for example, when they are considering internationalization?

For a simple reason: Here’s a fantastic possibility for success. The Spanish economy has developed a very positive way after the crisis, and Madrid is the heart of it. Also, the atmosphere is more and more international, which is a good thing for the business.

What are the companies that have the biggest chances for success?

Technology companies, among other sectors, are doing particularly very well here. Many countries like Finland, Sweden, Germany, United States, etc. have an excellent reputation around the world, and it will surely help when entering to the Spanish market. But any company with the right product or service has enormous potential here and it doesn’t matter where the origins are.

One of the last great examples we had here was with the US company called Retail Inkjet Solutions (RIS) that we helped to start the operations in Spain last year. RIS has developed and patented a machine that can refill the empty printer cartridges in a very cost-effective and efficient way. Customers end up saving money, getting even better printing quality and end up reducing the plastic waste. A product that really is a win-win-win (RIS, retailer & customer) for everyone except the cartridge manufacturers.

RIS hired the first person in last November and they’ve had a really promising start here and already signed their first big deal with one of the biggest retailers in Spain.

What is the biggest single challenge in the Spanish market?

Language. Unfortunately the overall level of English is very low throughout Spain. If you are planning to open a new business, you will have to do everything in Spanish. This is certainly something that is always slowing down the companies when they start planning to come here, and they realize that. It is possible to send a person from the company’s HQ to open an office, but then you have to hire also a local person who starts to contact and meet potential clients.

But finding good people that can handle Spanish and English here is not a problem, and that is always included in the profile when we are doing headhunting projects for our international customers.

If you would start a business in Spain, where would you set up the first office?

Madrid. The situation in Catalonia and possible independence are still so open and affecting businesses there, so I would not even consider Barcelona as an option. But for many, it is the one that comes to mind first. Whether it is because it is so much more familiar destination, for example, through tourism than Madrid, I don’t know. Madrid is also ideally located for being in the middle of the country and super well connected to other cities by the high-speed trains, planes, and highways.

If a company wants to discover the possibilities in Spain, what would you do? 

Contacting us could be the first thing to do. We can run a market check if even needed and get all the information that the company’s management board requires to make the decisions. With Arash, we both have done the Master’s studies abroad, and we have a vast business experience working with international clients. 

Thanks to our extensive network of contacts acquired here in Madrid over these years, we can offer the right contacts if it’s needed. Very often, while we have been looking for key people for different companies, we have helped our customers with things like founding a company, finding an office, buying or renting an apartment etc. Arash, for example, used to work many years for a company called Moving2Madrid and helped international investors and buyers to acquire properties here in Madrid. After that, he has moved towards consulting and a headhunting world and helping many companies to develop their business as well as finding new key employees.

Written by,

Teemu & Arash

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Michael Thorp has over a decade of experience in the recruitment industry. Throughout his career, he has held various roles and gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the field. He has a strong track record of success in helping businesses and start-ups find the right talent to support their growth and success.