Rate of Start-ups Created in Austria Remains Low Compared to Other European Countries

Christina zur Nedden reported recently at The Financial Times Online that, “Austria, like Germany, has a deftness for creating highly specialised companies — often less well-known ‘hidden champions’ — that are also global leaders in their field, according to the agency charged with promoting investment in the country.

The Austrian Business Agency (ABA) paints a shining picture of the local start-up scene in which new businesses, incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces and new venture capital funds have emerged over recent years, attracting capital from outside.

“‘In 2019, start-ups attracted €218m in investment. Especially, scale-ups have been successful in attracting funding internationally,’ the ABA says.”

The FT article noted that, “But the rate at which start-ups are created in Austria remains lower than that in comparable European countries, and a new law aimed at controlling foreign direct investment from non-EU countries, coupled with existing red tape, has prompted concerns that innovation is being stifled.

“Start-ups are clustered at various points across the country, often led by universities. There are green tech and ‘medtech’ hubs in the southern state of Styria, Innsbruck focuses on quantum computing and alpine tech (centred on mountain and sports tourism), while Linz is home to many IT companies. More than 50 per cent of start-ups are located in the capital, Vienna.”

The FT article added that, “Yet, while the government promises to simplify the founding process, company formation is still considered bureaucratic and expensive compared with the UK, Singapore or Estonia, for example. It takes an average 21 days to register a business in Austria compared with 4.5 days in the UK, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business report.”

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