Austria: From Imperial Country To Startup Hotspot

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In recent years Austria has gone from sleeping beauty to innovation and progress. The country welcomes startups and its founders with open arms by providing support through a governmental agency.

Austria has emerged as a startup hub, especially in the fields of information technology, media and life sciences as well as creative industries. The American business magazine Forbes selected Austria as one of seven startup hotspots in Europe, not least due to projects such as the Pioneers Festival, where 1,600 startups from more than 90 countries meet with 400 investors from all over the world in Vienna’s Hofburg Palace.

In order to found your startup as easy and efficient as possible, there are different initiatives you can turn to. One of them is called ABA – Invest in Austria; they offer comprehensive services – from funding to market opportunities and tax laws. Their team of 25 experienced investment consultants will advise and support you quickly regarding your startup questions. Unlike some other services in Austria the process is unbureaucratic and – perhaps the most important part – free of charge.

What’s In It For Your Startup?

ABA is the national investment promotion company and the first point of contact for foreign companies aiming to establish their own business in Austria. The service is owned and operated by the Republic of Austria and directly reports to the Austrian Ministry of Science, Research and Economy – hence you can get all relevant info at one place.

The agency also consults international investors on all location-related issues, provides information about Austria as a business location and proactively targets potential investors, which is how they have established a broad pool of contacts including investors, accelerators and incubators – and this pool is ready for you to jump into it.

Startup Funding In Austria

Austria has a relatively high rate of taxes and levies in international comparison. One use of these proceeds is a comprehensive funding system and support measures for startups and innovation projects. The offering of such funding is very diverse and is well received by the business community. So far, around 60% of Austrian startups have received public funding and are satisfied with the service provided by the funding institutions.

Corporate Objectives

As mentioned above, ABA supports foreign companies in establishing their own business in Austria. Potential investors are informed about Austria as a business location, as well as about the prevailing economic, political and legal framework.

In addition, their activities also focus on establishing all necessary contacts in Austria, consulting on identifying suitable sites and providing information relevant to your company, for example on cost factors (e.g. unit labor and infrastructure costs), tax issues or the performance of specific economic sectors in the country. ABA also provides support to companies in carrying out expansion investments.

As the national investment promotion consultancy it has also been assigned the tasks of further improving Austria’s image as an industrialized nation and correcting misleading stereotypes, which – unfortunately – still exist.

Services

ABA – Invest in Austria offers information, personal consulting and tailor-made services to international investors establishing business operations in Austria in the following areas:

  • Personal support for founders:
    • The agency boasts longstanding, experienced investment consultants in all areas related to founding companies, who are more than happy to help you out with any questions you might have.
  • Comprehensive pool of information:
    • ABA provides all the up-to-date data on Austria as a business location: info about sectors, technologies and market developments as well as political and economic conditions.
  • Competent consulting:
    • Gives advice to ensure the optimal selection of an initial site: ABA answers questions on labor and tax regulations, informs you about ideal funding and co-working spaces, incubators and accelerators and helps you to solve various problems when founding your startup.
  • Dedicated support:
    • Need help handling formalities? Since ABA is operated by the Republic of Austria they can help you to complete applications for funding or supports, in cooperation with the regional investment promotion agencies.
  • Sustainable service:
    • Short term advice may be useful but certaily can’t beat long-term consulting and support. ABA also acts as a service center to serve you even after project implementation.

For a detailed look at what ABA offers European startups check out this site.

Austria – Your Startup’s New Home?

As shown above Austria has implemented a series of measures to optimize conditions for companies, and has thus emerged as a startup hotspot in Europe. The launch and further development of a new enterprise is facilitated by numerous incubators, funding and promotion schemes. Customized financing offerings are available to support quick growth, from particularly low-interest loans to guarantees.

A very strong startup scene is emerging in this country at present. The education of young people is very good, and the risk of founding a company is lower than in other nations thanks to extensive funding. An increasing number of business angels with practical experience support young founders with their know-how and financial resources to make startups successful and build a ground for innovation.

 

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Photo credit: Harry Pammer via Visual hunt / CC BY-ND