Something that we have learned, apart from making wine, is that Sweden and Spain differ greatly when it comes to contact with authorities, institutions, banks and so on. We love Spain and its people, but we don’t love everything. I feel I have to mention the bureaucratic red tape and official formalities that we have encountered in Spain.
Since the start of our wine adventure just over a year ago, we’ve come into contact with various authorities and institutions, for example, when we set up our Spanish company, opened bank accounts, purchased land (6 acquisitions in all), applied for building permission, various permits and agricultural subsidies, etc. In general, we’ve learned (been forced to learn) that a lawyer is involved in everything and that all matters eventually end up on the desk of the public notary. It takes a very long time to get anything done and a great deal of patience is required. Although patience is not my strongest attribute, I’m learning slowly but surely that you simply have to accept that this is how things are done.
We’re used to the Swedish way of doing business, registering everything electronically and getting matters sorted quickly and simply with a few clicks. No big deal. There are no real databases in Spain (except for the tax authorities), which means that everything has to be examined manually by a lawyer and documented on paper that has to be signed. We’ve had to familiarise ourselves again with bank cheques for the purchase of land, instead of transferring the money electronically.
I could list many examples but have decided not to go into detail. Setting up a business in Spain is very complicated and expensive compared with Sweden. Lawyers, notaries, applications, cheques and so on are not free.
But in spite of all the red tape, we love Spain, its people and what we are doing. I have great respect for entrepreneurs who set up businesses in Spain. We have started and managed many companies in Sweden. The authorities and institutions support, encourage and assist new start-ups in Sweden, helping them to get going until they have learned the essentials and got their business up and running.
Finally, we have great admiration for all business owners in Spain. You deserve a pat on the back!