Following the financial crisis of 2007–08, the Spanish economy’s plunged into recession, entering a cycle of negative macroeconomic performance. This impacted the way that entrepreneurship was seen in cities around the country. Specially those that were always very traditional. I got a chance to talk to Jaime Aranda Serralbo about the growth of Sevilla’s entrepreneurial community and his path as Community Leader.
Born in Cordoba, but now living in Sevilla since several years ago, Jaime has been a catalyst within the startup movement in Sevilla. Along with another participant of Startup Weekend Cordoba in late December of 2012, he was the first to bring Startup Weekend to Sevilla on May of 2013. This move, which came after Jaime’s successful opening of the biggest co-working space in the city – WorkINCompany – as well as having already organised around 120 events, was the starting point of the community, which as of today has held the biggest Startup Weekend event in the country – and one of the biggest in Europe.
From his recollection of data, Jaime says there are 8 startups and around 160 jobs that have been created thanks to the thriving community. Now, 3 years after the movement began, the community leaders of Sevilla, have created an non-profit to support entrepreneurship and investment in the city called Sevilla UP; with Jaime as President. This organization aims to be an open forum of collaboration, innovation and ideation.
The first Startup Weekend, the one back in May 2013, had around 45 participants. They went up to host around 160 participants, during 2014’s Global Startup Battle. At that point, Techstars EMEA Director, José Iglesias, suggested that they should start doing verticalized events–focused events in a specific theme/industry. In 2015, during Global Startup Battle, they ran their first thematic Startup Weekend, focused on Food and gastronomy–they had around 50 participants. This year, they will run in March the 3rd edition of that theme, in June their 2nd focused in Aerospace and in July their first focused on Education.
Jaime, who is a serial entrepreneur, thinks after the crisis and with the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem growing, in 2017, startups will become more mature, and will be able to create professionals within their teams, provide valuable experiences for their employees and at the same time provide value to both the society and the Spanish markets. We look forward to following their progress!