Class Of 2012: Young Spaniards Launch Startups
Gonzalez del Castillo, who plans to seek architecture work abroad once he gets his degree, respects his friends' resolve: "Sometimes it seems that the hardest part ... is to go abroad, but maybe it is harder to stay here and try to face it, changing the way you work."
Across the country, other young entrepreneurs working on separate ventures are increasingly banding together in groups of 10 or so to jointly rent office space, splitting the bill and sometimes the cost of a secretary to serve all of their different businesses.
"Many of these people don't hold out much hope of getting a traditional job with a Spanish company for the next 15 years or so but they are creative, so they decide to create their own businesses," said Ricardo Ibarra Roca, the 28-year-old president of The Spanish Youth Council, which represents 76 Spanish associations representing young adults.
Far from Madrid's center, in an industrial park that's home to countless auto repair shops, more than two dozen mostly 20-something application developers, sales representatives, community managers and content editors work in an open loft office space for social travel startup Minube (Mycloud in Spanish), which provides travel experiences from users around the world in multiple languages on its Internet site and smartphone applications. The company had revenue of Ã¢,7/81 million last year, and is forecasting an increase of 40 percent this year."If we weren't in crisis, it's possible this company wouldn't exist," said founder Raul Jimenez, 35. "The great opportunity is innovation, and the crisis is helping because it pushes people out of their comfort zone." Spanish companies that are successful traditionally move to better digs and prime locations when successful, but Jimenez decided to move just a few blocks within the industrial park when Minube's space got too small. The company also breaks traditional business norms by having shifts that end at 5:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. instead of later or when the boss leaves the office, no two-hour Spanish lunches and no separate offices for higher-ups. The formal attire common in Spanish companies is unknown here. In a country where directors of company often closet themselves in expansive offices, the Minube interns sit next to Jimenez.
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