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Hamburg is among Germany's leading cities for start-ups

New study indicates strengths, opportunities and possible fields of activity. Over 700 start-ups surveyed in Hanseatic city

Hamburg has for years been among Germany’s leading cities for start-ups. However, a downward trend is also noticeable. A new expert report aims to halt this trend, according to a press release by the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) Tuesday (September 27th). The level of companies founded and its development are the result of different regional factors such as diverse economic sectors, labour market developments and funding programmes with a positive impact on the intensity of start-ups in Hamburg.

Individualising support for start-ups

Prof. Dr. Henning Vöpel, Director of HWWI, said: “Regional innovation systems are changing fundamentally. Start-ups play a crucial role therein. To do so, a location needs an open climate and an international ecosystem. Custom-made support for start-ups can make a significant contribution.” He noted: “The ongoing technological transformation requires network partners in Hamburg to constantly initiate innovation and transformation processes. The need to individualise the support for start-ups goes with that.”

Comprehensive report on founders

HWWI’s report was conducted on behalf of the Hamburg Economic Authority, the BürgschaftsGemeinschaft Hamburg, Creditreform, Hamburger Sparkasse, Hamburg Marketing, the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg, HanseMerkur Insurance Group, Hamburgischen Investitions- und Förderbank and KPMG.

Survey of founders in Hamburg

Creditreform and the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg surveyed around 700 founders in Hamburg to gain a better understanding of the situation. The random sample showed that a majority of interviewees availed of only existing support programme. Personal relationships or savings were the most frequently used financial means of starting a company and for investments later. The choice of location was prompted most frequently by private reasons. The reasons for choosing Hamburg included reachability, a local network, the availability of spaces and the quality of the existing infrastructure. The results also indicate room for improvement in Hamburg in terms of defining the framework conditions for founders.

Recommendations for supporting start-ups in Hamburg

Fields of activity for supporting start-ups have been deduced from statistics, surveys, expert interviews with figures in Hamburg’s start-up network and founders. Isabel Sünner, Senior Researcher at HWWI, said: “If the network partners form an alliance, this would further raise Hamburg’s chances of success in the supra-regional location competition.” She added: “The goal should be to work together on developing and implanting an overall strategy to support start-ups in Hamburg.”

Promoting transfer

Dr. Rolf Strittmatter, Chairman of the Managing Board of Hamburg Marketing GmbH, said: “Hamburg is on the right track with the planned research and innovation parks to anchor the start-up scene effectively in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Clusters like renewable energies, logistics and aviation are in strong positions. Now, the aim is to increase the transfer between research, science, economy and start-ups and make the location even more attractive on an international level.”

Frank Horch, Senator for Economics, praised innovative minds in the Hanseatic city and promised support. Those who wish to start a company in Hamburg are well placed, he added. Hamburg is a dynamic metropolis with a vibrant start-up scene, as the study confirms. To maintain these standards, the senate will continue to support start-ups in the classic sectors, but also those in technology-intense branches with research and innovation parks and new digital offers.

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