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The successful business world of Antonio Banderas | Culture

In January 2017, Antonio Banderas suffered a heart attack that changed his life. That was the day the 61-year-old Spanish actor decided to return home to Málaga, leave the Hollywood stress behind him and pursue his lifelong dream. In 2019, he launched Soho Theater, where he returned to the stage with the musical A Chorus Line. But the theater – which has an annual budget of close to €7 million ($7.88 million) – is just the tip of the iceberg of Banderas’s long-term plan. The actor is also planning to build a second stage for experimental theater, an auditorium and a technical school for theater production and management. Meanwhile, he has also created a television production company, a symphony orchestra, and opened four restaurants. A jazz club is also set to be added to the list. Banderas has 300 employees, a strong real estate portfolio, and his work in films such as Uncharted and Indiana Jones 5 helps him balance his accounts. “Now I know that everything is possible in Málaga,” he said during the premiere of Company, his second musical, in which he directs and stars.

Banderas has always been linked to Málaga, his home city, but now he has intensified his involvement in local life. He lives downtown in an attic he bought in 2014, although he also has a house in Marbella. Meanwhile, he has sold his Los Angeles mansion, which he shared with former partner Melanie Griffith, for €14 million ($15.75 million), while his house in London is on the market for €3.51 million ($3.94 million).

Since returning to Málaga in 2019, he has participated in numerous events, such as the switching on of the city’s Christmas lights. He is a regular at the Starlite Festival held in the area, takes part in Easter processions as a member of a coalition of religious brotherhoofd named Cofradías Fusionadas and is even considering becoming a shareholder of Málaga’s soccer club. He is known worldwide, and his very presence has had a great economic impact on the city.

“He has boosted bookings. He’s the excuse for many of our clients to come and stay for several days. I wish there were more Antonio Banderas in other cities,” says Yeyo Ballesteros, communications manager for the hotel chain Room Mate. “His commitment to Málaga is beneficial for us; it gives us great visibility,” adds Francisco de la Torre, the mayor of Málaga.

The actor has his own perfume line, multiple real estate properties in Spain’s Costa del Sol and his company, Glassmore Investments, has capital of €8 million ($9 million). Soho Theater, however, is at the center of his future plans. “He may or may not be liked on stage, but his entrepreneurship is unquestionable,” says Javier Domínguez, Banderas’s brother and right-hand man. “He keeps us all on our feet,” he says, laughing.

Domínguez is the manager of his brother’s companies and theater, a dream that has been long in coming. Banderas thought first about opening a theater in Madrid in 2000, but ended up losing a million euros. In 2004, he became interested in the auditorium that was planned for Málaga’s western area but that didn’t work out either. And in 2017, the actor almost fulfilled his dream after winning an auction for a plot of land in Plaza de Merced square, which he abandoned due to all “the insults, personal attacks and humiliating treatment” of local politics.

Banderas finally achieved his dream when Alameda cinemas agreed to rent the movie theater to Banderas for €225,000 a year ($253,000), a cost that is covered by the Antonio Banderas Theater Foundation, which also paid for the site to be completely renovated. “When I die, I won’t be able to take any money with me,” he said in an interview with EL PAÍS.

The 800-seat theater has allowed Banderas to bring renowned Broadway productions to Málaga. The latest show to hit the stage is Company, a musical with a cast of 14 people and 26 live musicians that cost €2 million ($2.25 million). The economic risk is high, the show has to sell out to cover the costs. But Company has succeeded just as A Chorus Line did. More than 40,000 people have attended its first 50 performances. It is the only chance to see Banderas on stage. When the show travels, another actor replaces him. The strategy works. Half of the audience in Soho Theater comes from outside of Málaga. Ticket sales are key to paying the 200 theater workers, including the cast of A Chorus Line, who are now in Madrid. It was in the Spanish capital where a Covid outbreak paralyzed performances for a week, leading to losses of €800,000 ($899,000). The health crisis has been his biggest headache. “What is the worst that can happen if you buy a theater? A pandemic? Well, there it is,” the actor said.

Antonio Banderas has boosted bookings. He’s the excuse for many of our clients to come and stay for several days

Yeyo Ballesteros, communications manager for Room Mate

During Spain’s home lockdown, while theater workers were placed on the government’s ERTE furlough scheme, Banderas got to work on other projects. He created an audiovisual production company, and premiered a TV show on Amazon Prime. Then came the 2021 Goya Awards (Spain’s equivalent to the Oscars), a campaign for Málaga’s provincial government and a spot for the Giants, an eSports team. Now he is producing Las Tres Puertas (or, The Three Doors) for Spain’s national television broadcaster, TVE.

In the last six months, Banderas has also opened three restaurants – Atrezzo, La Barra de Doña Inés and Doña Iñes – which are all located next to Soho Theater. This has required an investment of €3 million ($3.37 million) and around one hundred new employees. The restaurants attract diners from the theater, which as well as putting on Broadway musicals, also hosts performances and concerts. Banderas began in the restaurant business in 2017, acquiring the premises and part of the shareholding of El Pimpi, a classic Málagan restaurant. This venture was done in partnership with Pablo Gonzalo, who is also his partner in the three new restaurants. The team put in a tender for the management of the restaurant Casa de Botes, but ended up withdrawing it. Now they are planning to open a jazz club near the theater. The Soho neighborhood has come alive thanks to Banderas. “He acts as a point of great interest for the city,” says Rebecca Evans, manager of the ICON Malabar hotel.

As Banderas searches for land to build his theater school, auditorium and experimental theater, he is also promoting films such as Uncharted, which also stars Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg. Soon he will be doing the same for Official Competition and he is also set to travel to finish the shooting of Indiana Jones 5. He makes few trips to Hollywood these days, the million-dollar paychecks last a while. “Theater doesn’t pay. It is in the movies where money is made,” clarifies his brother, who emphasizes that the theater project is non-profit. “If there are profits, they are reinvested in the next show,” explains Domínguez. The project receives no public aid, but it does count on many sponsors. CaixaBank is his main partner, but El Corte Inglés, Metrovacesa, Málaga Towers, Cervezas Victoria, Vithas and Porcelanosa also contribute. Málagan companies also provide support in exchange for certain privileges, such as attending an annual dinner with Banderas in one of his restaurants. It all adds up.

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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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