02 December 2013
Small and mid-size businesses are the key to reviving the country's economy, says Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has encouraged his government to adopt fiscal reforms designed to help entrepreneurs create more jobs.
With about a quarter of the nation’s workforce unemployed, jobs are a key issue for most Spaniards, even though recent reports indicate that the economy has stopped shrinking.
Still more encouraging, there are signs that entrepreneurial spirit may come to Spain's rescue. The number of people registered as self-employed increased by nearly 22,000 in the first seven months of 2013, having fallen by some 7,000 a year earlier. Company creation rose by more than 8% in the first half of the year.
Many people who lost steady jobs in the downturn have been forced to start their own businesses simply to earn a living. As a result, a more entrepreneurial mindset is taking hold among people content to be employees in the past.
Earlier this year, Spain’s parliament passed legislation cutting red tape and offering tax breaks to start-up businesses. Rajoy also supports a measure to boost regional banks and make it easier for small and mid-size companies to borrow money and hire more employees.
Rising exports are also playing a role in pulling Spain out of recession, but Rajoy says it’s up to the people of Spain to improve their own fortunes, and encouraging entrepreneurship is the best way to make that happen.