Elaborations by Daniel Worch, Regional Representative for Saxony Anhalt of the German Startups Association / Jörg Schnurre, CEO and Founder of Pinkwhy
3-Sentence Pitch on the local Startup Ecosystem:
Saxony-Anhalt is a state with a heart for Startups. Here, in the middle of Germany, Startups get a wide support, a well economic environment and a close proximity to growing economic regions like Leipzig and Berlin. The direct access to political and business leaders and decision makers; perfect infrastructure to found a company; low costs for living, founding, and qualified personnel; a perfect match of work and recreational environment make Saxony-Anhalt the best state to start and run a company.
The focus is on the big cities Halle (Saale) and Magdeburg. Both university-cities are characterized by a high quality of life, moderate location costs, and low wage costs. Additionally, they offer excellent infrastructure. This includes university incubators, technology parks, and optimal developed industrial settlement areas. Good connections by freeways, the central location within Germany and the proximity to Berlin make Saxony-Anhalt extremely attractive.
Sectoral Focus of the Startup Ecosystem
Due to the technology park Weinberg Campus and the industrial location Leuna, the focus of the south of the state Saxony-Anhalt will be in the life science sector. Whether biotechnology, chemistry, pharmacy or healthcare – Startups will find excellent conditions and international well-known companies. In the north of Saxony-Anhalt, there is more engineering and automotive industry. IT-Startups are welcomed with advantages conditions everywhere.
Local Financing Landscape/Presence of VCs
The capital market and funding opportunities have improved continuously. The state Saxony-Anhalt gets subsidies by the EU till 2020 to strengthen the economic development. This support includes state-owned founders’ stipends, promotion of innovation and loans for founders. As well as an increasing number of Business Angels, the state has with bmp Beteiligungsmanagement AG – a very experienced and agile finance specialist, which manages the state-owned IBG-Fund.
Presence and Industrial Focus of Established Industries
Especially in the industrial area Leuna, you will find a lot of subsidiaries of international companies, for example, Total, Dow Chemical, BASF, and Linde. The economy is largely dominated by very innovative medium-sized enterprises from the sector’s engineering and automotive industry. Moreover, in the Solarvalley are a lot of companies from the sector cleantech.
Most of the companies are involved in sector clusters and support local startup and innovation contests. Additionally, there are matching events among startups and enterprises, inter alia organized by the Investforum Startup-Service.
Presence of Incubators/Accelerators
As a result of cooperation among the Existenzgründeroffensive ego. of the state Saxony-Anhalt and higher education institutions, a number of cross-industry incubators were formed. The precondition for using is a cooperation or connection to the higher education institution. There are no classic accelerators.
Presence of Research Institutes and Universities
Saxony-Anhalt has two excellent universities: the Martin-Luther-Universität in Halle and the Otto-von-Guericke-Universität in Magdeburg. Moreover, the state has four other universities of applied sciences and the art academy Burg Giebichenstein in Halle. These universities covering nearly all industries. On the Technologiepark Weinberg Campus, there are also a lot of research institutes from Fraunhofer Gesellschaft up to Max-Planck and Leibniz-Institutes. There, the focus will be on materials sciences and biotechnologies.
Especially the Investforum Pitch-Day is quite interesting for Startups. About 25 Startups encounter more than 70 investors. Startups may apply for a pitch before. Moreover, Startups can take an active part in regional competitions, like the IQ-Innovationspreis or the Hugo-Junkers-Preis.