To promote the partial or indefinite relocation of digital talent gathered in the metropolitan area of Barcelona to rural and less populated areas of Catalonia where these digital professionals can take root and develop their personal and professional lives.
This is the aim of 'Catalunya Rural Hub', a project promoted by the Department of Digital Policies and Public Administration and Mobile World Capital Barcelona, within the framework of the Barcelona Digital Talent alliance, which seeks to promote the development of the new digital economy throughout Catalonia and at the same time have a positive impact on the productive, commercial and economic fabric of the territory.
This initiative, a pioneer in Spain, was presented today at Can Trona by Jordi Puigneró, Minister of Digital Policies; Jordi Arrufí, director of the Digital Talent program at Mobile World Capital Barcelona and spokesman for Barcelona Digital Talent, and Lluís Amat, mayor of La Vall d'en Bas.
Due to the current situation, marked by the pandemic, the tendency to emigrate outside Barcelona has been accentuated since last June. 8% of the population of Barcelona has decided to leave the city, according to the latest data from the Municipal Data Office (OMD).
This trend, caused by the growing digitalization of companies and the increase in remote work, as well as the desire of professionals to move their work environment and home to a rural environment to improve their quality of life, it generates new opportunities for rural villages to increase population and activate the economy.
Catalunya Rural Hub
The pilot project Catalunya Rural Hub offers 20 professionals in the digital field the possibility of a one-week stay in La Vall d'en Bas to live first hand the experience of living and working remotely from a rural area of Catalonia.
The test, aimed at self-employed professionals, workers in companies in the ICT sector and staff of the Public Administration, will consist of two batches of 10 people that will take place in two weeks of May (from 3 to 7 May and 17 to May 21).
For 5 days, the participants will move their workplace to La Garrotxa and share coworking and experiences with a small team of professionals from different profiles and corporations. Beyond this, they will be offered interrelationship activities with local agents, so that they can improve and deepen their knowledge of the opportunities offered by this environment, positively impact the economic, commercial and productive fabric of the area and even deciding to take root in it to develop new business and a new digital economy.
To make this experience possible, and to extend it throughout Catalonia, good connectivity to the territory is essential. In this sense, the public fiber optic network deployed by the Government in recent years, which already reaches all the counties of Catalonia and 91% of the population, is a key infrastructure to ensure the implementation of a new decentralized work model, that allows to develop professionally where it is wanted and to develop in all the territory the opportunities that the new digital economy offers.
Councilor Jordi Puigneró says that Catalunya Rural Hub "represents a great antidote to depopulation". For Puigneró, “the Government has made an effort in this legislature to extend the fiber optic network to the whole territory. Now - he adds - it's time to deploy digital talent all over the country ".
Jordi Arrufí, Director of Digital Talent at Mobile World Capital Barcelona, added that this project goes beyond a pilot and that the intention is that in the future it can be extended to different parts of the territory. "This experience shows that public-private partnerships can be a turning point in meeting the current demand for digital talent," he said.
For his part, the mayor of Vall d'en Bas, Lluís Amat, explained that "this commitment to an environment like ours is a success because we claim a rurality that works for innovation, renewal and talent".
Collaboration of Turisme Garrotxa
Turisme Garrotxa has collaborated in the search for accommodation, restaurants, activity companies, services, coworking spaces and shops to be able to prepare the batches of local product that will be offered to attendees. Also in the elaboration of a welcome pack with information of the region where they will be able to consult the services that offer so much in the Valley of Bas as in the region in case they decide to finally install in the Garrotxa