On Wednesday afternoon at the SBC Summit Barcelona 2023, a roundtable discussion took place under the title "Ceuta, a Place to Establish Technological Projects." The session exceeded expectations and evolved into a clear, data-driven presentation on how Ceuta has become the go-to digital hub in the sector. We recap the insights, updates, and future plans that the Minister of Economy and Finance, Kissy Chandiramani, and her four fellow speakers shared with the audience.
As a benchmark center and birthplace for gaming industry projects, Ceuta once again stood out at the Barcelona SBC Summit 2023 Gaming Fair. Besides having its own booth, the Autonomous City, with its success story as a shining hub of innovation, was the highlight of one of the talks addressing crucial aspects for the global gaming industry.
The session, titled "Ceuta, a Place for Establishing Technological Projects," served firstly to hear from the most authoritative voice (the Minister of Economy and Finance, Kissy Chandiramani) about the current situation of the Autonomous City regarding new operators and companies related to the sector established in Ceuta.
However, the audience quickly realized that, far from being self-complacent, Kissy set aside the very satisfactory results obtained to date. Instead, with an eye to the future, she shed light on the new "green and digital" Ceuta, emphasizing priorities such as knowledge transfer between University and Business and the quest to find new sectors. Impressed by the recognition obtained in the gaming industry, they may also want to settle in this location, which offers much more than just having the best taxation in the European Union.
Below, we summarize the perspectives and opinions expressed by each of the speakers, experts, and personalities who not only enriched our understanding of Ceuta's current and future appeal but also explained specific examples and tangible projects. These become a genuine invitation for operators, startups, service companies, and even tech giants to establish headquarters in the City.
Kissy Chandiramani | Minister of Economy and Finance of the Autonomous City of Ceuta
In an initial intervention, updating the current situation, the Minister expressed deep gratitude for the presence of the other speakers and pride in representing Ceuta in Barcelona, pointing out that she considers herself a "veteran at these kinds of events."
Felipe Masa's question aimed to uncover the secret or reason behind so many companies relocating all or part of their businesses to Ceuta. Kissy Chandiramani was clear on this matter:
"There isn't a single reason that explains the success of the companies that have arrived so far. But one reason among many could be the real investment we're making, coupled with the passion and desire of the Ceuta Government to undertake an economic transformation."
At this point, the border closure caused by the pandemic (March 13, 2020) was recalled, which marked a radical change in the economy:
"The people of Ceuta needed to face a new reality, a reality brought about thanks to companies present at this congress and those already established in the city."
Regarding the current situation, Chandiramani mentioned that over 60 companies are now in Ceuta, providing more than 700 jobs.
"All thanks to the determination of the companies, the Administration; but above all, the people. I would also highlight the enthusiasm, determination, and strength to believe in our possibilities."
Kissy, in her fourth response (second directed to her), stated that, looking to the future, "there are no limits."
"Ceuta is a territory with limited opportunities to establish industries that are very intensive in space or natural resources, but we can offer quality services in the technological field. And the Gaming industry has shown us that we can do it, and in a very satisfactory way for companies and for the people who work in these companies."
Among the short and medium-term commitments, in addition to the projects later developed by Avangreen's CEO, Manuel Gómez, she highlighted the "knowledge industry," trusting in transferring knowledge from the university to companies.
In any case, Kissy stated there's "a long way to go" and emphasized that "in Ceuta, we have a lot of support from the City Government to make those investments that companies need; but with the aid we offer to access many currently available funds such as the 'next generation' or the European social funds; everything can be easier."
Felipe Masa Sanchez-Ocaña | Director of Ernst & Young Spain
Felipe acted as moderator and directed insightful questions to the other speakers.
In his first intervention, after introducing Santiago Asensi, Manuel Gómez, Gustavo Molina, and Kissy Chandiramani; he explained that in this "talk", something more important than Ceuta's satisfactory results so far would be to understand how the plan to expand the city's service offerings will be detailed; hence, some of his questions aimed to reveal more details about projects like the Data Center or a hydrogen plant.
• His first question was directed to Kissy Chandiramani, seeking the key to Ceuta's success over the past few years.
• The second question was for Gustavo Molina, exemplifying one of the most reputable companies in the gambling sector operating from Ceuta.
• He then turned to Santiago Asensi, asking about the aspects that companies moving to Ceuta (assisted by Asensi Abogados) prioritize when starting the process.
• The fourth question was again for Kissy Chandiramani and focused on future plans being developed by the Ceuta government.
• Subsequently, he asked Manuel Gómez about the projects Avangreen is undertaking, which seem crucial for Ceuta.
• To conclude, he also approached the speakers to discover the advice they would give to other companies currently considering relocating to Ceuta.
From these questions, the speakers contributed their insights, shedding light on Ceuta's past, present, and what we can expect in the future.
Santiago Asensi | Managing Partner, Asensi Abogados
To everyone's surprise, Santiago Asensi's intervention began when asked by the moderator about his perspective on what companies are looking for when relocating to the Autonomous City. The response kicked off with stark honesty, as Santiago admitted he had not imagined that Ceuta would attract such significant interest from industry companies looking to relocate in such a short time.
Asensi emphasized that in addition to gaming operators, many other service companies and technology providers are also in Ceuta and are benefiting from these advantages.
And it was at this point that he revealed that "Asensi Abogados" itself would soon have an office on Ceuta soil, proving his full commitment to supporting companies moving to Ceuta, even applying it to his own firm.
His speech clearly demonstrated that Ceuta's current strategy is working and that it's crucial to note that when an Administration truly "wants" and "desires" companies to come, it succeeds. "Because it does everything possible to meet emerging needs."
Gustavo Molina | LATAM Tax Director at Entain
Being one of the executives of Entain, Molina's insights were invaluable as they exemplify the case of moving the existing business in Malta (something other companies like 888 or DaznBe have also done), but in this lecture, we were fortunate to have his expert testimony. Especially coming from a numbers man...
Gustavo was asked how a company like Entain felt moving its business in Spain from Malta to Ceuta. Molina's words were very positive about their experience in Ceuta and the transition, confirming that in addition to tax benefits, operations and results can also be improved.
With this intervention, both Santiago Asensi and Kissy Chandiramani added that Ceuta competes with other locations such as Malta or Gibraltar, but "in time and desire, Ceuta has followed its own path, which has been to become a technological center specialized in the provision of remote services."
Given his expertise in taxation and finance, Molina also pointed out the obvious: Ceuta offers everything a large company looks for to continue its business. But for the company and the group, verifying that what is offered in terms of taxation is real and that communication with the Ceuta government is also possible makes everything easy. So numbers are fundamental in any case to be delighted with the change.
In his own words: "In Ceuta, two things happen: you can operate very well and maintain the level we had in other locations, while fiscally supporting financial results. For all these reasons, it's a very competitive location, and they are very satisfied with the decision."
In a final question, Gustavo was clear and described the experience of relocating to Ceuta as excellent, emphasizing that the Ceuta Government "knows what it wants" and "supports companies and people at all times"; also highlighting the leadership of Kissy Chandiramani.
Manuel Gomez | CEO of Avangreen
The future is all about the technology that Ceuta can offer. And the company Avangreen - explained its CEO Manuel Gómez - has been working for months on two projects that will ensure the technological development of the city.
Firstly, the construction of a data center, capable of "creating a high-capacity internet connection, making it possible to have servers and a cloud that facilitate connectivity in milliseconds with the whole world" and also a photovoltaic plant that will introduce sustainable energy to Ceuta and can supply a significant percentage of the city's total demand.
Describing the progress of these projects, Gómez repeatedly emphasized that once completed, it’s going to be "world-renowned" and will meet the demands of countless technology sector companies.
With these two examples, we find further evidence that in today's globalization, fostering and facilitating the use of new technologies allows any company to settle in Ceuta and from there, work in any European market but also in America.
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