Aki Peltola: «Barcelona must be a Mediterranean business friendly talent hub»
AKi Peltola, 41 years old, married, has one daughter. Born in Finland, AKi lived in India (Mumbai) and in Brazil (Belo Horizonte) before moving to Barcelona 15 years ago. AKi is a serial entrepreneur and financial management professional having companies both in Spain and in Finland; 30 employees in total in the fields of Mergers & Acquisition support, financial management, food and wine imports and contemporary art gallery. Currently, AKi is setting up a new growth support company JA Incrementum that will be a proactive shareholder in companies with good potential.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
I feel more like Barcelona chose me. We had spent some summers in our flat in Mallorca and on the way there one winter, had to do a stopover in Barcelona and totally fell in love with the city. It’s a compact city – not a mega city – but with a great lifestyle and wide offer in gastronomy, culture, hobbies and city life.
What aspects of the city would you highlight as positive?
Lifestyle and quality of life. Easy access by walking to all parts of the city, good public transport and mobility solutions makes the city’s services and offer very accessible. Within 30min, you can be in a very nice beach or golfing and in 2h skiing, how convenient! Also compared to some mega cities, very safe – although before Covid-19 there was quite a bit of tourist targeted pickpockets etc.
What aspects of the city must be improved? How?
I have a feeling that Barcelona’s mayor is driving a hippy happy movement, which is all good – but when it means that the streets are flooded with street vendors blocking pavements and at the same time the licensed vendors are suffering, it doesn’t seem fair.
Which are the city’s strengths that will allow it to overcome the COVID-19 crisis?
Barcelona’s attraction has been the Mediterranean lifestyle combined with international talent and business. Luckily all those are still there and even more companies are hiring international talent in Barcelona, thus attracting talent. But for Barcelona to overcome this crisis, it needs to retain them. And that talent in term will find new ways to grow and create activities in the city.
What other challenges do you think the city will face once the health crisis ends?
Tourism industry will take quite some time to recover and it has ripple effect to many other fields as well. I do feel that for the tourism industry this is an opportunity to reinvent itself and start the “Tourism 4.0” movement.
What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?
I expect it to be a Mediterranean business friendly talent hub with great cultural offer, services and international level education. Somewhere that will retain the international talent in the city and create new talents as well as invite many more international professionals. For these reasons we are setting up our new company here!
Which city do you feel as «your city»? What do you miss the most?
My father-in-law always reminds me of my words, when I had just been a day or two in Barcelona after we moved, I took him to a roof top terrace and said “look, this is my city”. So the answer is Barcelona, no doubt! There is no specific thing I miss when we are not here, it’s the walking in Eixample and just enjoying the city!
Read the interview in El Periódico.
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