Andorra: Digital Economy, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation.
Eleven years ago Andorra decided to face up to the financial crisis and international pressures, restructuring its entire legal framework and bringing it into line with Europe and the rest of the world. It was either adapt or stay behind and the choice was clear: reinvent itself from top to bottom and integrate into a new international context where everything is under pressure. In the last few years, we have been able to observe a great deal of work being done at both the public and private levels to attract talent, one of the key tools for getting on the progress train and guaranteeing the consolidation of our economy for the future. The beginnings were not easy, however. That is why the entrepreneurs who began to arrive demanded a whole range of attention and infrastructures that were hitherto non-existent, such as the first coworking and business centers. The situation, of course, came up against legislation and an administration that needed to evolve quickly in order to keep up with the times. This is why the respective governments, aware of the need and also of the opportunity it represented for the country, then been trying to promote since then a whole series of initiatives aimed at attracting and hosting talent, to promote a strategy aimed at making traditional schemes more flexible, to promote measures in favor of bureaucratic agility and, above all, to create the legal framework that would give consistency to this new entrepreneurial climate.
And here we see that in the end, the masterpiece of the current legislature has seen the light of day: The new Digital Economy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law approved by the General Council on 1 December 2022 creates a majestic legal framework that, if it finds real practical development, will make Andorra an international benchmark similar to, or even better than, other international jurisdictions that have made a strong commitment to innovation and the digital world, such as Latvia, among others. With entrepreneurs, digital nomads, researchers and inventors as key players, a whole series of infrastructures and facilities are regulated to enable new innovative projects to be developed there, strategically managed and financed, and forming part of a new ecosystem that is gradually developing.
Thus, there are special economic zones to generate favourable conditions for national and foreign investment in certain sectors, with facilities and incentives for the companies that locate there and control by the Ministry of Economy. The operation of business incubators and accelerators is also regulated, as well as public and private clusters, with a series of advantages for those who set up there. It also regulates shared spaces within the digital cloud ecosystem of coliving and coworking spaces, with different modalities and where flexibility is a key element to facilitate their development. A revolution in the exploitation of real estate assets, although with the precedent of some pioneering centers in the country that generated awareness of the need. All these infrastructures will obviously be occupied by professionals whose way of mobility does not make them in need of specific spaces in which to live and work. Precisely for this reason, non-residential work permits, digital nomads and visas for entrepreneurs have also had to be created, as well as the conditions for self-employed residence for other cases not linked to the digital world and innovation, increasing the AFA’s deposit to €50,000, when they are already exempt.
The law is completed, on the one hand, with the creation of a new type of a start-up company with its own registry and requirements and with a series of advantages but at the same time a control by the governmental authority, and on the other hand, with the regulation of participatory financing and innovation laboratories or living labs.
Andorra is therefore postulated as a new ecosystem focused on welcoming talent and entrepreneurship, on fostering a favourable environment for research and scientific and technological development, but at the same time aligning itself with inalienable values such as the preservation of the natural environment, energy efficiency and sustainability.
Augé Legal & Fiscal