The city of Manresa has a historical background of over one thousand years. It’s located in the heart of Catalonia, nearby Barcelona, at the crossroads of three strategic communication axes in Catalonia. With a city population over 75.000 inhabitants, Manresa has an industrial and commercial tradition, and it plays a very important role of capital status of a wider territory with over 250.000 people: the so-called Central Catalonia.
Manresa has a rich cultural activity in the fields of theatre, music, exhibitions and festival, being the Light Feast, the medieval fair and the traditional arts fair the most famous ones. Moreover, few medium-sized cities in Catalonia have a historic and patrimonial heritage as wide and diverse as Manresa, which ranges from the Gothic period to Modernism, going through all the industrialization process. These two resources – cultural life and historic legacy – have allowed touristic activity to emerge in the last years.
One of the main objectives of the Town Hall of Manresa is to concentrate public & private efforts to boost cooperation between administrations, universities, research centres and private stakeholders, in order to become one of the best knowledge and innovation based economies of the country.
In the very centre of the country, Manresa is located in the middle of three strategic communication roads in Catalonia: the north-south one (Llobregat Axis), the inland-coast one (Diagonal Axis) and the east-west one (Cross Axis). The city is just60 Km away from Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia.
The Llobregat Axis goes from Barcelona to the north, crossing Manresa and the Bages County, and it is the quickest route between Barcelona and the Pyrenean, so the city is on the way of the quickest road that links Barcelona and Paris, going through the important economic centre of Toulouse. The first section of the road connects Manresa with Barcelona, through a 60-km motorway that can be driven in less than 40 minutes.
The Cross Axis goes from east to west of the country through Manresa and the Bages county, and connects the cities of Lleida (inland) and Girona (Costa Brava), two of the four most important cities in Catalonia.
The third one, the so called Diagonal Axis, links Manresa with the southern coast of Tarragona.
Apart from the road network, we cannot forget the direct railway link to Barcelona & metropolitan area, with Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat, the Catalan railway company, and RENFE, the Spanish railway company.
On January 2012, Manresa had 76.702 inhabitants. Throughout the eighties and the nineties, Manresa decreased in number of inhabitants, from66,320 in1991 to64,119 in2000, asignificant reduction of 3.3%. This phenomenon took place in many big and middle-sized cities in Catalonia at the same period of time. This trend was reversed in the first decade of the current century, as a consequence of the expansive economic cycle, which boosted the housing construction and the employment in the area, attracting people from foreign countries, as well as people from the rest of Central Catalonia and from the metropolitan area of Barcelona. However, since the beginning of the current economic crisis, the number of inhabitants remains invariant.
The modern industry in the region was born at the end of the 18th century with the textile industry, which was mechanised in the middle of the 19th century. Some positive factors played an important role for its early development, mainly the existence of a preindustrial tradition, the motion power of the rivers, and the available labour force coming from the rural world.
The textile industry led to urban expansion and other economic activities, such as the textile machinery, giving birth to an incipient auxiliary metallurgic industry. The decline of the textile industry, in the seventies, accelerated the diversification of the local economy into other industrial sectors, leading to the strengthening of the metallurgic sector (mainly auxiliary car industry).
Due to the industrialisation process, the urban development and the growth of population consolidated Manresa as a commercial centre in Central Catalonia, a role which has been kept to the present day. The city centre continues to offer a wide variety of local commercial establishments, which coexist with new trends of commercial distribution.
As a capital of the Bages county and, de facto, of Central Catalonia region, Manresa is a great provider of services in fields like health (3 hospitals), education (3 universities in a shared campus), local and regional administration, research centres (Technological Centre of Manresa and the research department of the Technical College of Manresa) and enterprises’ services.
In the recent years, Manresa has also promoted its touristic resources, such as its historical patrimony and its cultural events, as well as the religious tourism generated by the Jesuits legacy around Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Indeed, Manresa is considered a founding city of the Jesuit order, and it’s now preparing events and spaces for the commemoration, in 2022, of 500 years of the Saint Ignatius’s arrival to the city. Manresa also attracts the visitors of the popular Montserrat Mountains (15 km away).
THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR:
The industrial sector of Manresa generates 15,9% of the total gross value added of its economy and employs 18,6% of the working population. The industrial structure includes 275 enterprises, most of them being small businesses (68% of the companies have fewer than 6 workers, and 14,9% of them have between 6 and 10 employees). Among the most important fields, it is remarkable the metallurgic industry, specialised in treating and working metals, metallic woodwork, mechanic workshops, construction of textile machinery and auxiliary car industry. Other industries are the textile – clothing, webbing, and knitwear -, woodwork, food and graphic arts.
COMMERCE AND SERVICES:
As we said earlier, Manresa’s capital role, added to the importance of the industrial sector, have both motivated the development of an important commerce and service sector. This sector generates 71,7% of the total gross valued added, and employs 75,8% of the working population. Manresa city has become an important commercial centre, with a high density of shops, which competes with the new commercial locations on the outskirts of the city.
TECHNICAL AND UNIVERSITY TRAINING:
Manresa offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, which are concentrated in four public institutions – University Foundation of Bages, Technical College of Manresa and Open University of Catalonia in Manresa and International University of Catalonia in Manresa.
All of them are located in the northern part of the city, at the University Campus, together with the Campus Library and the Campus Residence, in a privileged area which is perfectly connected with the Cross Axis and very close to the city centre. The proximity between all these centres allows developing more efficient services, research and training initiatives.
To support the university activity, the city promotes specific services such as the university library and the residence for students, and it organizes several extra-academic & cultural activities for students every year.
UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION OF BAGES (FUB):
The University Foundation of Bages (named FUB) offers studies in Health Sciences and Social Sciences. The degree programmes of the Autonomous University of Barcelona held in this centre are nursery, physiotherapy, chiropody, management & business administration studies, and preschool teaching. Nowadays, there are more than 1.000 students: 45% come from the central region; 30% from Barcelona metropolitan area; 9% from the rest of Catalonia; and 16% from outside Catalonia. It is expected that the number of students coming from outside the region will increase in a near future. Furthermore, the institution annually offers a continuing training programme and develops different projects of applied research, preferably in collaboration with companies and institutions involved in specific areas.
FUB pays careful attention to the development of the relationship between universities and enterprises. Nowadays, there are 125 collaboration agreements in force signed with entities, companies and institutions. The scope of this collaboration is to offer students a practical and useful training, and to introduce them into both the professional and business world.
TECHNICAL COLLEGE OF MANRESA (EUPM):
It constitutes one of the campuses of the Technical College of Catalonia, and it provides 5 diplomas in Technical Engineering; doctoral programmes and other diplomas; and master’s degrees, postgraduate courses & specialisation courses.
The diplomas in Technical Engineering are the following:
– Technical Engineer in Telecommunications, diploma in Electronic Systems for Telecommunications.
– Industrial Technical Engineer, diploma in Industrial Chemistry.
– Industrial Technical Engineer, diploma in Industrial Electronics.
– Industrial Technical Engineer, diploma in Mechanical Engineering.
– Mining Technical Engineer, diploma in Mining Engineering.
The centre has 110 university teachers and there are about 1.500 registered students. Every year the centre allows 60 new students to register in each special field, except Mechanical Engineering, which allows 120. Furthermore, 200 students graduate every year. The College also offers three-year degree programmes in Industrial Management; doctoral courses in Natural Resources and Pollution; master’s degrees in Industrial Management and Electromechanical Engineering Techniques, and courses in Working Hazard Prevention.
OPEN UNIVERSITY OF CATALONIA IN MANRESA
It is an on-line university for students who want to study at distance. The university offers a wide range of degrees, such as:
Arts and Humanities
Law and political science
Economics and Management
Computer science, Multimedia and Telecommunications
Psychology and Education Training
INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF CATALONIA IN MANRESA
The studies of the International University of Catalonia in Manresa are held at the Hospital “Althaia”, hosting about 80 students of Medicine of 3rd and 4th year, who have to complete their theoretic lessons with practical stages.
ECONOMIC PROMOTION SERVICES:
One of the main objectives of Manresa City Council related to economic promotion of the city is to foster the cooperation between the Administration and the rest of public & private local stakeholders, in order to coordinate initiatives and services and thus achieve more effective and efficient results in this field. Municipal economic promotion services have been structured around two pillars: The Centre of Initiatives for Employment and the Business Development Centre. They both interact with the rest of the community. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Manresa, the Manresa Trade Fair, the Technological Council of Bages and the Technological Centre of Manresa also offer specialised services, and actively participate in economic promotion policies, giving support to the business world.
From year 2013, the city has also the Technological Park of Central Catalonia, a new area for business development, with more than 67.000 m2 dedicated to technology and innovation based enterprises. It complements the current offer of productive soil, formed by ten economical areas with over two million square meters. Inside this new area, the Town Hall owns the Impulse Building, which offers spaces to rent and common services addressed to enterprises and entrepreneurs. This building, together with the Technological Centre of Manresa, integrates the so called Motor Space of the Park. The global aim of the park is to share services, applied knowledge and innovative solutions among companies and research centres hosted in it.
CENTRE OF INITIATIVES FOR EMPLOYMENT (CIO):
It is the Employment Local Service of Manresa City Council. Its mission is to improve the employment rate and to promote the access of the unemployed to the labour market, especially of those who have greater difficulties to find a job. It is a professional and rigorous centre that offers services of employment assessment, long-life training and labour intermediation.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTRE (CEDEM):
It is a specialised centre run by the Town Hall of Manresa that offers different services of support to the entrepreneurs and companies, especially medium and small-sized enterprises. It develops training programmes; it offers information and specialised consulting; it supports the cooperation among local businesses; it collaborates in improving the industrial areas; it searches for foreign investors; and it aims to create a local innovation ecosystem.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY OF MANRESA:
Manresa has its own Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 1906, which also includes the rest of municipalities of the Bages County. Its main objective is to promote the necessary actions to encourage the industry and the commerce. It integrates 11.000 enterprises, with an export volume of around 600 million euros. The Chamber offers specialised services and organises all kind of activities that enterprises may require. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Manresa belongs to a network of thirteen Catalan chambers. Among other activities, they foment export and long-life training.
MANRESA TRADE FAIR:
The Manresa Trade Fair is a private foundation led together by the Town Hall of Manresa and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and integrated by other administrations, and public and private institutions. Its aim is to organise conventions, commercial events and other business-related activities. This entity is the result of a long tradition in trade fairs. In 1901, the General Great Trade Fair of Manresa took place, which was born thanks to the impact of the World Trade Fair of Barcelona in 1888. The main conventions organised along the year are Expobages, Exponeu, Ecoviure, Cuida’t and Firantic. The Manresa Trade Fair also organises different tasks to promote the city.
TECHNOLOGICAL CENTRE OF MANRESA:
It is a centre of the Technical University of Catalonia, which came into operation in October 2000 and which is run by the Technological Council of Bages. It offers technical consulting services, implantation of quality systems, environmental quality assessment, office automation and applied data transmission. In collaboration with other institutions, it runs specialised training programmes through a training area. It is recognised as a Technological Innovation Centre.
Its aim is to organise research and technological innovation tasks, and to transfer the technological knowledge of the University into projects that result in a competitive advantage for the companies. It has powerful equipment and infrastructures, with accredited laboratories in metallurgic, materials, waste process and environmental fields. The Technological Centre of Manresa is aimed to be the most important technological innovation referent in Central Catalonia.
It is located in the new Technological Park of Central Catalonia and it integrates the Motor Space of the park, together with the municipal Impulse Building.
KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY AND INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM:
Manresa works in a full strategy based on Knowledge Economy and Innovation Ecosystem. It involves the quadruple helix local stakeholders mentioned above. The Technological Park is a result of this strategy. In the same line, several local clusters are starting to develop their own strategies in the fields of health, textile and advanced services to companies.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MANRESA EUROPEAN INITIATIVES:
The city of Manresa is member of two other European networks: ACTE and NETWERC H2O.
ACTE is an Association of European Textile Entities, whose objective is to promote the improvement of textile companies’ competitiveness taking into account that textile sector is highly concentrated in some specific territories.
NETWERC H2O is a an Association Network for Water in European regions and Cities with the aim of promoting and improving sustainability in the use of water at regional and local level, through disseminating and exchanging smart technologies for the benefit of local communities.
Contact person for Eurotowns