The Basque Country as a base in Europe for your business
The Basque Country may not have the guaranteed sun of the south of Spain but having lived and worked here for the past 20 years it really has fantastic opportunities and a wonderful quality of life. This is not just my personal experience, according to an OECD report measuring variables such as healthcare, education, employment, income, safety, environment, citizen participation, access to services and housing, Euskadi (Basque Autonomous Region) is the region with the highest quality of life in Spain.
Furthermore, the Financial Times ranks the Basque Country as the best medium-sized European region in connectivity (logistics) and one of the best in its foreign investment strategy. Thanks its capacity for self-government it offers specific public funds for each stage of the company life cycle, including refundable advances, low interest loans, tax incentives, occupational training, incentives for R&D projects and installation in Technology Parks.
Like in the rest of Spain there are multiple different options to work and do business in the Basque Country.
As an individual you can register as self-employed (autonomo) to work on your own terms although your liability for debts is not limited and your personal assets may be at risk. Five years ago however, a new concept was introduced by law of the limited liability entrepreneur who can limit their liability by registering in the Companies’ Register (Registro Mercantil). Once self-employed you can enter into contractual relations under agreements for services, distribution, dealership, franchise, engineering, licencing, etc.
Existing companies can open a branch office which has no legal personality of its own and is dependent on its parent company, although its registration is required in the Companies’ Register, being considered a permanent establishment for tax purposes.
Alternatively, you could incorporate a new limited liability company with minimum share capital of approximately 3000 euros and multiple different ways of organising the internal structure via the articles of association (estatutos). This can range from a minimum of one director and one shareholder to a board of directors with many different shareholders.
The Basque Country stands out due to its institutional support for start-ups with bodies like BAEZ, a public company of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia which aims to support enterprises and entrepreneurs in their efforts to create new projects, innovate and internationalise or Bizkaia Seed Capital which was created with the aim of funding the development of innovative business projects at the start-up stage. On the regional level, SPRI is the Basque Business Development Agency, a company dependent on the Basque Government Department of Economic Development and Infrastructures, with its “Invest in the Basque Country” unit to facilitate foreign investment.
Whether you’re relocating and looking to purchase a property, or intend to invest in the north of Spain, we have the contacts and know-how to accompany you throughout your process and deal with all legal issues which may arise. Bear in mind that we can obtain an NIE (foreigner ID No.) on your behalf which you need to open a bank account, purchase a property and incorporate a company following your instructions if you grant us a power of attorney. In other words, you would only need to physically be in Spain if you want to register as a resident.
Eoin McGirr. Abogado