Next year I don’t want to miss the Roland Garros! Really, this time I’m going to make it to Paris on time.
Ok, let’s try this again, shall we? Good night, Madrid!
Note to myself: In case you didn’t know, having caffeine after midnight is not a good idea.
Last week, I wrote an article about how the youth employment has fallen apart in Spain and how much I hope the Spanish government does something about it. Unfortunately, some people were under the impression that I would agree with throwing in the towel on Spanish entrepreneurship. Call me crazy, but I believe Spain can do better, and will do better if it fights for it. I see the current crisis as the biggest opportunity to start making things right.
Even though I respect the democratic right to go on strike, I’m determined to make a different approach than stop working. We can blame it on the government, on the banks, or Lehman Brothers if we want to, but that won’t solve the problem. It doesn’t matter if you vote liberal or conservative, we need to embrace entrepreneurship as a way out of this situation. I personally want to stand up and do something about it. I created a startup company here, and I hope it will lead to job creation and contribute raising Spain’s competitiveness.
Spain, as a state and as a nation, needs to reconsider what they teach in schools and how they motivate the entrepreneurial drive in people. Juan José Güemes, head of IE Business School’s International Entrepreneur Management Center, thinks ”this country needs entrepreneurs, not just in terms of creating businesses, but in terms of the way that we live, to be always on the lookout for opportunities, and not simply accepting the way that things are.” I happen to agree with him.
Güemes is also one of the major advocates for the creation of an Entrepreneur’s Visa in Spain. He takes every opportunity he’s got to explain the necessity of letting international entrepreneurs establish their business in Spain. As a foreigner myself, I got the opportunity to be accepted at the Madrid International Lab with my startup Pathfinder. This lab is a space dedicated to assisting international entrepreneurs with internationally based startups, and foreign businesses in starting up in Madrid. They offer office space equipped with the technical and logistical tools necessary to create startups.
Concerning that matter, Madrid is clearly doing as much as it can as a city. It’s far from being a hopeless place, and in fact, it was featured in TechCrunch as one of the top cities for startups. The thriving startup environment in Madrid welcomes people from all over the globe, like Liz Fleming, Deputy Director of IE Venture Lab and Gary Stewart, director of Wayra Academy -Telefonica’s startup accelerator.
But the #startuprevolution must be a national concern, and not only for Madrid and Barcelona. SMEs in Spain must be the soul and voice of the new Spanish economic regeneration. A stronger private sector must be the motor that drives the country out of the deepest crisis seen since the Great Depression in 1929. In order to do that, we need to embrace the necessary structural reforms and start making new policies that will ensure Spain moves forward.
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Last week, Espacio de Vinculación organized their Vanguardia Ibérica event, where young people meet to discuss important issues in the Iberoamerican region (Spain, Andorra, Portugal and Latin America). I had the privilege to be one of the guests to debate over the #nimileuristas panel.
#Nimileuristas is a concept that has been used in Spain to categorize those young people who don’t even reach the thousand euro salary (less than $1,300). I remember when I moved to Spain in 2006, the derogatory concept back then was #mileuristas (people who earn a little bit more than a thousand euros). How odd that after a few years, a miserable 1K+€ position would be considered a dream job.
According to the European Commission, 7 of each 10 young people are willing to leave Spain behind for a job. For several years, Spain has been an immigrant receiver until 2011, when the quota was turned negative by the amount of people who fled the country as fast as they could.
But what exactly can we expect from the Spanish current situation? It all started when we thought that we were unbeatably rich in Spain. The government created many infrastructures to modernize the country. Eventually, we became second to China in the world with the most miles that could be traveled in high-speed trains. We were also proud to become the #1 country in Europe with most airports and also with most paved highways. Olé!
Little did we know that we invested more than we were supposed to and made really bad decisions in where to prioritize, one mistake after the other. It’s even ridiculous to have cutting edge airports like Lleida’s where they only have 15 passengers per week. For the love of reason! We even spent 220 million euros to connect towns to the high-speed train line that have an average of 3 passengers per day.
Right now, we have the most prepared generation that we ever had and it’s going to total waste. Young people with two bachelor’s degrees, a semester abroad in England, and a master’s degree can’t even land a job at a local McDonald’s.
In that fake golden era, we motivated people to get a mortgage early in life and live the new Spanish dream. Millions of young couples enjoying the forthcoming fruits before harvesting the plants. Then the construction bubble bursted, and then the banking system. Now we have 317 daily home evictions since early 2012, and we only cared about them this week, when we read in the news about elder people taking their own lives when the authorities were climbing up the stairs to snatch from them probably the only thing they had left.
Let us only hope that we make the right decisions with the fiscal reform in Spain to motivate the economy and not lose the human side of being a nation. For us young people, I expect the government stick to their promise of an Entrepreneur’s Law in March 2013. We’ve been waiting almost a year for it already.
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A few years ago, when I was a college student in Seville (Spain), I was talking with a friend at a bar when suddenly this random person joined the conversation. I was impressed by how passionate this person was about his beliefs and his way of seeing things. From that moment, that person became a friend without me even noticing until much later in life. His name is Álvaro Aguado.
“HO HEY” by The Lumineers
Watch the new videoclip from M83 “Steve McQueen”
Recibido el libro “Escribir en Internet” de @fundeu
Why, thank you Apple!
Habemus #iPhone 5 (at Apple Store)
Waiting for the #mpbyono to start (at CAMON Madrid)
“Boys and Girls of Fashion Week” by Justin Wu
I wish Google and Apple could learn how to work together again. Quite frankly, Google sucks making Android OS systems. The only competitiveness that it has over Apple is the ability of providing cheaper alternatives to the iPhone and the iPad.
iOS Google-based Maps was really helpful for me when to get from point A to point B in public transportation in Madrid, my current home. I do think Apple new Maps app is better than what people are saying, it doesn’t give you transit routes (just yet).
But, Google Apps are really good, including Maps. So, for now, I only hope Google will submit more apps into Apple’s App Store. Google Transit would be awesome.