Expat Entrepreneur: Emma Grenham with Kids in Barcelona

Expat Entrepreneur: Emma Grenham with Kids in Barcelona

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Expat Entrepreneur Emma Grenham talks about how setting up a business in Spain is encouraged by locals and expats, but it's best to be sure businesses cater towards an existing Spanish market.

Name: Emma Grenham    
Nationality: British
City of residence: Barcelona
Name of company: Kids in Barcelona
Date of company launch: 2007

Can you give us a brief description of your business and how it is going.
Kids in Barcelona (www.kidsinbarcelona.com) is an online guide to the city for families. The website has a loyal following of Barcelona international families with visitor numbers continuing to grow. The guide is also used as a resource from parents around the world coming to the city on holiday.

What do you like about doing business in your country of residence?
Starting up your own business is not very usual here, and the locals that do decide to run their own show do so with a real sense of adventure and enthusiasm. It is a pleasure dealing with them!

What do you find most frustrating about doing business in your country of residence?
There is very little in place to help new businesses in terms of advice, planning and capital and other restrictions are imposed. Face to face meetings are still preferred for the simplest of decisions, which although very pleasant, can be very time consuming!

What hurdles did you encounter when setting up?
You have to be self-funding much of the time when support from the banks would be helpful.

How has the economic crisis affected your business?

The market for kids’ activities and child-friendly businesses is still growing and we are very much on the wave of that. Smaller shops and outlets do not have budgets for the usual types of advertising and so we try to offer more affordable and comprehensive ways for them to promote their business.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs setting up business in your country of residence?
If you think you have a good idea, really find out what similar businesses exist and ask yourself if yours can actually work in this market. We see great new business ideas here all the time which very often do not take off. We often think that we can fill a gap in Spain with a new business but what we think is needed and what Spanish consumers actually want can be very different.

How does running a business in your current country of residence compare to running a business in other countries that you have lived in?
Spain is not traditionally an entrepreneurial nation. You do feel like you are sometimes treading new ground. Also many of the new ideas here -- especially in the tourist sector -- come from international residents and not locals.

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