Cities for Talent Meeting

Cities for Talent Meeting

A two-day event for a selection of experts and practitioners from cities and regions with cutting-edge talent attraction and retention programmes in place. Our aim is to create a space for exchange and cooperation, sharing best practices, common lessons learned and opportunities for networking. Attendance by invitation only.


Day 1: Friday 27th October 2023

8.45h - Arrival of participants

Venue: Espai Barcelona - Edifici MediaTic, Carrer de Roc Boronat, 117, 08018 Barcelona

Event facilitator and conductor: Ms. Bibiana Cunningham

9.00 am - Opening

Welcoming remarks by Mr. Mario Rubert, Director of International Economic Promotion. Barcelona City Council.

Ice-breaking presentation of the participants: Engaging round of introductions to encourage a warm and collaborative environment.

09.30 am - Workshop 1: Attracting and retaining foreign talents

Attracting and retaining talent is key to increasing the capacity for innovation and improving the competitiveness of places. Some countries have special policies, regulations or incentives in place to support the arrival and retention of talent, but what actions can be done from a city or region perspective?

Questions for the debate: What activities, programmes and projects for attracting and retaining talent have succeed? Have we obtained meaningful results? Which lessons have we learned? Is there anything we should avoid in trying to compete for the best talents? How can we collaborate between cities and regions?


  • 4 brief presentations (inputs) to trigger the discussion (5 min for each)
  • Wise Crowd discussions (30 min)
  • Wrap up (5 min)


  • How well does a well-known city brand really help recruit international talent? By Mr. Burkhard Volbracht, Berlin and Partners.
  • Interaction between the digital world and personal contact. By Mr. Ivan Jiménez, Bizkaia Talent.
  • Waking up from the oil dream to the harsh reality of talent competitiveness. By Ms. Mari Strømsvåg, Oslo Region Alliance (Oslopolitan).
  • Young professionals in Denmark: career development to retain international students. By Ms. Merete Sandager, Copenhagen Capacity.
10.25 am - Barcelona International Welcome Desk

Discover the Barcelona International Welcome Desk, the official support service for international talent who want to come and live in the city or who have recently settled.

  • Ms. Judith Romera Head of projects for international Talent. Barcelona City Council and Ms. Mónica Madrigal, Head of the Business Landing Service. Barcelona Activa

10.55 - Coffee break

11.25 am – Workshop 2: Welcoming and integrating international talents

When a person relocates to a new city with a new professional and life project, there are many needs to cover. Some cities have created International Houses or Welcome Centres to ease the personal landing of foreign talent and also offer a programme of events to help to integrate the new citizens.

Questions for the debate: Which processes or activities related to the welcoming and reception of international talent have been successful? What is most effective in meeting the needs of the newcomers? Which are the challenges in integration in the local community? What does it mean to integrate the internationals?


  • 4 brief presentations (inputs) to trigger the discussion (5 min for each)
  • Wise Crowd discussions (30 min)
  • Wrap up (5 min)


  • A city for talents and talents for a city. By Mr. Chris Lo, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).
  • Welcoming new professionals right from the start: onboarding at the workplace. By Mr. Jan Kopkáš, Brno Expat Centre.
  • Customer Journey Mapping – Key to successful talent attraction and retention. By Mr. Leonardo Ortega Prudencio, Work in Estonia.
  • From students to talents. Milano: the global city with the Italian quality of life that welcomes and integrates. By Ms. Caterina Laurenzi, Milano & Partners.
12.20 pm - Barcelona Talent Map

The Barcelona Talent Map is a digital tool that shows the trends and behaviour of Barcelona’s talent based on the information of the LinkedIn professional network.

  • Ms. Elsa Arranz, Digital Talent Project Manager, Barcelona Activa.
12.50 pm - Workshop 3: Engaging local stakeholders and promoting PPP

To remove barriers and become an ideal city for international talents, the joint work of both local administrations and the recruiting companies is necessary. Another key player is the local population, both locals and internationals already established in the territory, who can be spokespeople that drive authentic referrals and spread the word about the city’s assets.

Questions for the debate: What actions can be taken for engaging key players of the talent ecosystem in the mission of attracting, welcoming and retaining foreign talent? In which ways can we promote public-private partnerships (PPP)? Does the civic society have the power to attract and retain internationals? How can we involve people to become Ambassadors of our city or regions?


  • 4 brief presentations (inputs) to trigger the discussion (5 min for each)
  • Wise Crowd discussions (30 min)
  • Wrap up (5 min)


  • Achieving product-market fit (PMF) in public-private partnerships. By Mr. Isaac Garfunkel, Helsinki Partners.
  • Regional Value Proposition. By Mr. Niklas Delersjö, Move to Gothenburg.
  • Powering Progress: Synergizing Public-Private Efforts to Empower Tel Aviv's Ecosystem. By Mr. Zaft Zevik, Tel Aviv Global & Tourism. (His participation is excused)
  • Key features = Key players = Key talent. By Ms. Nicole Zwetsloot, Brainport Eindhoven.

1.40 pm - Introduction to Barcelona International Community Day

1.50 pm – Working lunch

3.00 pm - Guided walking tour

This activity is optional. Two different groups will be formed. Participants should choose one option:

  • Option 1: 22@ Innovation District. It is a project of urban refurbishment of 200 hectares of post-industrial land offering modern spaces for the strategic concentration of intensive knowledge-based activities.
  • Option 2: Barcelona Activa. It is the Local Development Agency of the Barcelona City Council that works with the aim of fostering quality employment for all, facilitating access to professional and technical training and supporting Barcelona entrepreneurs and business growth.

Free time

7.30 pm - Mobile World Capital Barcelona

Venue: Plaça de Pau Vila, 1, Tech Barcelona, Sector C Planta 2, 08039 Barcelona

Learn about the Mobile World Capital Barcelona, an initiative that promotes the digital development of society and helps improve people's lives globally. With public and private support, MWCapital focuses its activities on four areas:  innovation, technology, talent, and society.

The digital talent area of Mobile World Capital Barcelona drives Barcelona Digital Talent, a public-private alliance aimed at positioning Barcelona as the capital of digital talent through the reorientation of professionals to the digital sector and the retention of international talent. 

MWCapital hosts the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona and is the founder of 4 Years From Now (4YFN), the business platform for the startup community present at all MWC events worldwide.

  • Mr. Jordi Arrufí,  Digital Talent Programme Director, Mobile World Capital Barcelona.
8.00 pm - Informal tapas dinner

Informal cocktail-style dinner (no seating). Traditional and modern tapas and drinks will be served.

This dinner will be held in the terrace of Palau de Mar, an old port warehouse built in 1890 which was renovated as an office space. Today it is the headquarters of Tech Barcelona and houses start-ups, corporations, incubators and institutions such as MWCapital. The building is located in an unbeatable enclave in the Gothic quarter and set against the picturesque backdrop of the Barcelona’s old harbour.


Day 2: Saturday 28th October 2023

10 am - Barcelona International Community Day

Venue: Museu Marítim de Barcelona, Av. de les Drassanes, 1, 08001 Barcelona

Attendance at the 10th Barcelona International Community Day to explore the exhibitors’ fair and participate in the programme of activities.

The visit will include the invitation to the official opening, a meeting with the Host Ambassadors, and much more. Food and drinks at the event’s cafeteria included.

1.00 pm - Cities for Talent wrap-up meeting

Final gathering to wrap up the Cities for Talent Meeting and to set the next steps.

Download the full programme

We are working with great enthusiasm to organise an attractive programme, one that is stimulating for all the participants, so that we can learn together, network and establish a relationship based on trust and collaboration.

Participants of the following organisations:

BRNO Expat Centre
Work Estonia
Tel Aviv Tech
Move to Gothenburg West Sweden
Milano and Partners Logo
Helsinki Partners logo
Berlin partner for business and technology
Brainport Eindhoven
Copenhagen Capacity
it-ER International talents Emilia-Romagna
International Citizen Hub Lund
International Welcome Centre. Utrecht Region
Logo turku gran
logo scotland
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List of points shown on the map

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    DAY 1: Edifici MediaTIC. Carrer Roc Boronat, 117

    DAY 2: Museu Marítim de Barcelona. Av. De les Drassanes, 1


    • It is a two-day event for a selection of experts and practitioners from cities and regions with cutting-edge talent attraction and retention programs in place. Our aim is to create a space for exchange and cooperation, sharing best practices, common lessons learned and opportunities for networking.

    • The Cities for Talent Meeting will be held in Barcelona on 27 and 28 October 2023.

    • It is an invite-only event aimed at experts who are working on attracting and retaining talent for a city or region. Registration for this event is now closed.

    • We are glad to inform you that we will cover the organisational costs of your attendance (including the entire working session programme, coffee breaks and networking meals) and there is no participation fee. However, attendees will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses, although they will be able to benefit from a special hotel rate. 

    • The Cities for Talent Meeting is promoted and organised by Barcelona City Council’s International Economic Promotion Department. As part of our strategy to position Barcelona as an attractive city for foreign investment and foreign talent, we have been deploying a comprehensive approach to welcome and support international talent. This comes from a firm belief that such talent is key to ensuring the prosperity of our economy and enriching and advancing our society.

    • After more than a decade promoting various measures, services and initiatives focused on talent attraction and retention, we would now like to share our experience and learn from the developments taking place in other cities that are also leading the way in this field.

      The Cities for Talent Meeting is being held as part of the celebrations for the 10th Anniversary of Barcelona International Community Day, the landmark event for international talent in our city, that first took place in 2014, and that we are keen to showcase and share with our counterparts from other cities.