Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Times Economics article on Expats Working in Spain

Spain, new land of opportunity
From Graham Keeley in Barcelona

?IT?S like Bognor with botox here,? said Lesley Bunce, surveying the scene on the ?frontline? in Puerto Banus.
She was referring to the stream of Ferraris and Daimlers trawling along the harbour side in one of the Costa del Sol?s most famous haunts.

Bunce, 44, who runs the Blue Bar in the resort, has been in Spain for only eight months. She refers to the ?frontline? not just because the bar is on the seafront, but because the constant battles against Spanish bureaucracy ?make it feel like a war zone?.
Bunce, from Southampton, has just won the latest round in this war over her electricity supply. ?So far we are doing well, but I would say to anyone coming out here: sort out everything before you make the move to Spain.?
She is one of the new breed of British entrepreneurs staging a quiet invasion of Spain.

John Woodward runs Voyages Orsom, which offers team-building activities and corporate entertaining on his catamaran, moored off Barcelona. His bread-and-butter are corporate clients who want to take the sea air, sip a beer and watch the sun go down behind Gaudi?s Sagrada Familia. Woodward, 49, sold his cottage in Huddersfield and found partners to invest £120,000 in the business, which, after five years, is doing well.
?Brits are coming out here and starting their own businesses because they are in a no-lose situation,? he said. ?If you have an idea, the necessary skills and a lot of determination, you might as well go for it, as you have given up so much to come here anyway.?

Near Torrevieja, on the Costa Blanca, Gina Marks is filming an episode of Dream Gardens. Last year, Marks, 33, set up Sol Productions, which makes a dizzying variety of programmes, from cooking shows about how to make paella to Mr Costa Blanca, a reality-TV show. She started the television company after spotting a market to make programmes to help expats integrate.

Meanwhile, Simon Lambert, 46, relaxes on his 81ft yacht off Majorca, enjoying the fruits of 25 years spent selling villas. Lambert, managing director of Parador Properties, one of the biggest British-owned property companies in Spain, set up his first company as a teenager and has been running Parador with a partner. The company made £4 million profit last year. ?I came out to Barcelona when I was only 19 and I still love Spain,? he said, ?but running a business here is just as hard as anywhere else.?


Population: 40,350,000
Labour force: 19,330,000
Self-employed foreigners: 141,000 (British 21,000)
Most popular destination for foreigners: Catalonia (followed by Valencia, Andalucia)


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