New Startup Hubs: Changing Places Can Be Not So Challenging At All

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Thinking of moving to another startup hub? Here are some tips to follow when deciding to take the chance!

Are you an exceptional talent, researching possible career paths within the startup community? Or a founder, attracted by the endless opportunities, which vibrant startup hubs across Europe have to offer? Whatever your reasons are, at some point – and maybe more than once! – you’ll find yourself facing the need to relocate. And however exciting it might be, you could always use some tips, right?

By no means am I a great traveller, there are so much more places calling for me than marked as ‘explored’, but in my life I’ve already changed countries twice to settle for long-term, so maybe there’s a useful advice or two I can offer. For me, the main principle for any relocation has always been ‘I came, I unpacked, I started to live’. You have to accept the reality of this place being your home for the indefinite future and act ‘domestically’. At the same time, the danger of getting stuck within the obsolete set of behaviours and stereotypes is out there, so always keep your eyes and ears (and thoughts!) open.

#1 Do Your Homework

I don’t mean searching for the cheapest tickets, packing smart (you’ll still have a lot of essentials to buy once you get to new place) or arranging, at least temporary, accommodation from afar. There are more pitfalls to that, unfortunately.

For example, should you or not register or report to authorities, when you arrive, and if so, what are the deadlines? Even if you’re a EU citizen and enjoy unlimited freedom of movement across most of the world, checking out local regulations is a must, as some countries (e.g. Germany) require everyone to register with the address, regardless of nationality. For non-EU citizens, who are currently becoming a bigger part of startups and SMEs workforce (especially in tech), the procedure is even more painful sometimes.

Ignorance of the law excuses no one, and we certainly don’t want our readers to suffer the consequences of what they haven’t even intended to do in the first place!

#2 Research The Area

Whether you’ve booked a hostel for a couple of nights, taking your time to wrap your head around the thought that you’re living in a new city / country now, or you’ve been lucky to secure something more long-term, there’s no ‘later time’ to enjoy your life there! Unpack the main stuff and make yourself as comfortable as possible.

Apart from learning, where the closest bus stop or underground station is located, devote a couple of evenings to just walking around in the vicinity and familiarize yourself with the survival basics – grocery and cosmetics supermarkets, drugstores, all-nighters, etc. Wander a bit more, and you may unexpectedly discover some hidden treasures like nice creative shops or independent cafes, whose worst nightmare is to become another link in some worldwide chain. And don’t hesitate to ask your hosts and flatmates for recommendations!

#3 Treat Yourself

And that leads us to another significant – and pleasant – point. Yes, there’s lots of things to do and constantly to keep in mind, but don’t go hard on yourself! At the end of the day, your wellbeing that’s what keeps you going, boosts your productivity and strengthens in dealing with the authorities. Thus, you have to indulge yourself.

Even if you’ve just moved to another urban settlement within your current country of residence, be sure that it has plenty unique things to offer. Each region boasts its specialty in foods and crafts, and the further you leave the city centre, the more family owned places, proud of their independence, you’ll find. Never miss the chance to shop or eat there, and you’ll get the authentic taste of the place, which would be helpful in perceiving it as your new home. And if you’re struggling time wise, just celebrate in a nice place nearby with good company or do a raid at a local farmer’s market – that’ll also do!

#4 Find Your Crowd

Apparently, it takes courage and open mind to move places and embrace – sometimes alien – culture, traditions and ways of doing business. But you don’t need to do this alone and certainly don’t have to! Whichever city you end up in, be sure that it has at least several people like you there, and the Internet be blessed for helping us finding them in no time.

Check up the meetups and events around you, which will instantly provide the possibilities to mingle, network, meet your fellow professionals, enter a local startup community and even learn the language, should you not feel completely confident with it. Don’t limit your options with online sources only, word of mouth has proven itself effective much earlier, so fish for events on your way across the city and ask your new acquaintances for recommendations. Also, don’t concentrate solely on professional and networking gatherings, diversity is friend of innovative thinking, therefore, exhibitions and concerts are the places to relax, raise cultural awareness and load your creative batteries!

That’s it for today. My wisdom might be limited, however, you hopefully can benefit from the abovementioned advice, or send it further to friends, who are yet to make such life-changing move, or to potential employees, who your startup is eagerly waiting for. Of course, make use of local Facebook groups and expat websites, which offer lots of help and guidance for a newbie, approach like-minded people from our friendly StartUs community, and pull every single string of contacts you might have in the country / city of arrival.

Forewarned is forearmed, so use your sources – and best of luck in conquering a new city!



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Photo credit: Drew Coffman via / CC BY