In 2018, a total of 1,621 shops in Barcelona requested business advice from the consultancy service provided by Barcelona Activa’s Business Care Office in cooperation with the Department of Commerce. The figure represented a 35% increase on 2017, when 1,200 shops requested the service.
The shops received the support requested through advice on staff skill improvement, business transfers, human resources recruitment and business management, among others.
A total of 245,292 euros were allocated in the first line of subsidies created to promote business digitisation, resources that were used on projects such as creating a basic internet presence, hiring digital communication services and participation in online sales platforms.
The initiatives promoted by the Department of Commerce in collaboration with Barcelona Activa have focused on support during the professionalisation process of the businesses and on actions to enhance professional careers, improve business management, incorporate human resources and deal with any queries about procedures.
The Councillor for Tourism, Commerce and Tourism, Agustí Colom, pointed out that “the policies we have launched during this term of office have been aimed directly at municipal support for local commerce, which has meant taking on the challenge of digitisation while ensuring that quality, specialisation and local neighbourhood building is not compromised”.
Among the shops, 346 consultations were made about “seeking employees”, 250 about “business advice”, 94 about “business transfers”, 59 about “business financing” and 34 about “internationalisation”.
By district, there was a clear correlation between the number of requests and the presence of shops in each of the districts and their overall influence in the city. Consequently, Eixample was the district with the greatest weight in terms of the origin of the shops attended by the OAE, at 19.2 %. It was followed, in second place, by the Sant Martí district with 14.5% of shops and, in third place, by Ciutat Vella district, with 10.8%.
Digitalisation of shops
Furthermore, this year for the first time the City Council opened a line of subsidies aimed specifically at digitising shops and digital associations. Some €245,000 were allocated to 82 establishments and 23 associations promoting the development of digital transformation projects. This is the first time the City Council has created financial aid for digitisation aimed not just at retailers’ associations but also at individual establishments for projects specific to each one.
The aid has been allocated to retail shops on high streets and to mechanics workshops and companies providing, photographic, photocopying and graphic art, and repair services, retail travel agencies, dry cleaners and launderettes, hairdressers and beauty salons, and ready meals, catering, bar and restaurant services. The projects can range from creating a basic internet presence to hiring digital communication services, digital marketing and participation in online sales platforms, specialist directories and digital signage platforms.