Digital Agenda IV: MINETUR’s Internationalization Plan for Tech Firms
As part of the raft of measures implementing the Digital Agenda for Spain, in June 2013 the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism (“MINETUR”) published the Internationalization Plan for Technology Companies, worth some €134.2 M and set to run until 2015.
The core goals of the Plan are to boost exports in the ICT sector by 30% between 2011 and 2015, and to step up the presence of overseas ICT companies by 15% between 2011 and 2015, through commercial representation or the establishment of dedicated branches, all aimed at ramping up exports and gaining a firmer foothold in strategic overseas markets.The measures of the Plan are organized around four pillars:
The first of these brings together measures offering financial aid for internationalization (€113 M), taking in everything from financial aid for the pursuit of internationalization activities by ICT companies, in the form of direct financing through credit facilities to support internationalization activities (ICO-Digital Internationalization Agenda, at a fixed interest rate and with a one-year grace period), to subsidies for training in the internationalization of ICT companies and the inclusion of an international dimension as part of the criteria for obtaining direct financing for the performance of R+D+i projects.
The second pillar comprises measures promoting direct foreign investment in the ICT sector, in the shape of initiatives to attract foreign investment in the industry. These measures will be implemented by the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and the Information Society (“SETSI”), in conjunction with and under the auspices of the Foreign Trade Institute (“ICEX”).
The third area comprises measures for monitoring, raising the profile of and safeguarding the ICT sector (€2.2 M) in a bid to improve the information available and the design of measures supporting internationalization. There are plans in place to assemble a working group to monitor and safeguard the ICT sector; performing an analysis of sectors and subsectors in the area of internationalization and identifying target countries and regions, alongside information and training campaigns and prospective technological missions to countries and regions of interest (Red.es, ICEX, aDigital, and SETSI), while also boosting the participation of ICT companies in tenders for R+D+i and digital services infrastructure projects across Europe (Connecting Europe).
The fourth pillar comprises measures of institutional support and coordination with other programs to promote businesses (€19 M), including the design of institutional support programs through the signing of collaboration agreements, sending out missions to strategic countries and institutions and the boosting of internationalization initiatives in the ICT sector in conjunction with the competent bodies (ICEX). The initiatives envisaged include the organizing and financing (by Red.es, ICEX and Fundación Banesto) of the Spain Tech Center, set up in San Francisco to pave the way for Spanish technology firms to enter the US market, and participation in the Barcelona Mobile World Congress (SETSI, ICEX and Red.es), with the annual organization of a Spain Pavilion (€0.9 M 2013-2015), coordinating the presence of Spanish companies and government representatives, and the contribution by Spain to the BMWC Foundation’s €15 million budget over a three-year period.
Elsewhere, other tools for the internationalization of Spanish companies are worth bearing in mind, both at autonomous community and international level, which, more often than not, can be combined with those of the MINETUR. At an autonomous community level, various autonomous communities offer general plans for the internationalization of Spanish companies, including ICTs, the most recent example being the initiative rubber-stamped by the Murcia Autonomous Community under Law 5/2013, of July 8, 2013, supporting entrepreneurs and the competitiveness and internationalization of SMEs of Murcia.
On the international front, there are numerous forms of aid for internationalization which, in some cases, simply require setting up a subsidiary in the country in question in order to apply. Particularly worthy of note are the programs offered by the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and the United States. In the US, via the Jobs Act, and at a private level, these include plans such as the “Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program”, equipped with a $500 million budget with the aim of assisting entrepreneurs to create jobs and giving them access to training programs, financing and capital, as well as business support services. The program is currently operating in Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City.
Garrigues Technology & Outsourcing Department