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Spain

Start-ups

Updated 09/2012

Legal requirements

Creating an enterprise is a great opportunity.

It is important to design your business project well. Choose the economic activity you aim to undertake. It is a good idea to have a business plan. Think about funding. The experience of your clients in acquiring your goods and services, in other words marketing and other related aspects. Make your business grow in the future, in other countries too. Do you aim to innovate to be more competitive? To collaborate with other enterprises or partners? Everything you want to know can be found here.

Initiatives to Support Start-ups

Are you familiar with the enterprise support units? They offer greater simplicity in: creating, running and growing your business. The enterprise support units will help you with various aspects: business plan, funding, economic grants, administrative procedures at a one-stop shop. In some cases they provide other services, such as enterprise incubators, collaboration between entrepreneurs and researchers. You could find them very useful.

These initiatives exist in: the European Union, in Spain: Central Authority (Spanish Government), regions (Autonomous Communities) and at the local level. They are headed by public and private institutions. You will enjoy learning about them. Find out more about them via the following link.

Legal Requirements to Set Up an Enterprise

In order to set up an enterprise you must in legislative terms opt for a legal structure.

In Spain the legal structures for enterprises range from sole traders to various types of company. The most commonly used in Spain are the following: sole trader, or freelancer, Limited Liability Company and Public Limited Company

  • A sole trader or freelancer is a natural person engaged in an economic or professional activity either individually or by hiring other employees. They are liable with all their assets for the obligations and debts resulting from their economic activities. Setting up such an operation requires less official paperwork than for a company.
  • A limited liability company: is a legal form of business normally used by small and medium enterprises. The limited liability of the company means that the shareholders are liable for the business's obligations only with the capital they have invested, not their personal assets. The minimum capital stock to set up such an company is 3,000 euros. It may be founded by one individual or several shareholders. Transfers of shares by shareholders or  stakeholders are normally subject to limitations. More official paperwork is involved than in setting up as a sole trader.
  • A public limited company: is the legal structure normally adopted by larger enterprises. This includes all those listed on the stock market.It is a form of limited liability company, with the shareholders liable for the business's economic obligations only to the extent of the capital invested. Not their own assets. The minimum capital stock required is 60,000 euros. The capital is represented by shares which in general can be easily transferred. More paperwork is required to incorporate this type of company.

In Spain, there are also other legal structures of enterprise: communities of assets, special commercial companies and others. Further information is available from the following links.

To succeed, a new business needs a sound commercial strategy and secure financing.

Some standard requirements to be completed when setting up a business are the same as when opening a branch.

Administrative procedures

In order to set up an enterprise there are two types of administrative procedure: 1. General or common, depending on the legal structure adopted. 2. Those connected with the specific economic activity. Depending on the type of business, this may involve additional official processes.

The procedures to create and start up in business are undertaken with the various public authorities: Spanish Government (Central), Autonomous Communities (Regions) and local authorities. Information, forms and many of the procedural steps themselves are available via the public authority websites.

Enterprise support units help entrepreneurs perform these procedures swiftly at a one-stop shop.

The general Central Authority (Spanish Government) procedures include in particular those involving the Public Finance Department, in other words the Tax Agency, and the Social Security. In the case of Capital Companies, a number of additional procedures involving a notary and the Companies Register are also required. You can obtain information and perform many of these procedures via the Internet.

For general procedures with the Autonomous Communities (Regions) and Local Authorities, you can find information, forms and perform some of these procedures via the Internet on their websites. You will, however, find it easier to perform the process at the entrepreneur support initiatives.

Resources

European Union and Enterprise Environment

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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