Hamburg Invest helped create and secure a total of 11,530 jobs, serviced around 1,100 firms and achieved an investment volume of over EUR 656 million in 2019, the company announced Wednesday (February 12, 2020) at the Hamburg Innovation Port (HIP). The record results targeted mostly companies focusing on creating knowledge and technology-orientated value and businesses seeking to relocate in the wake of Brexit. Most of the businesses serviced by Hamburg Invest were innovative SMEs and start-ups.
Creating new jobs
Michael Westhagemann, Senator for Economics, remarked: “The Hamburg senate has expanded its business development activities in recent years while at the same time entrusting the agency with marketing all of Hamburg’s municipal commercial and industrial sites. 2019 was the first full year under this new structure, and this decision was absolutely right. I am very pleased to see that innovative start-ups in particular have chosen Hamburg as their location Dr. Rolf Strittmatter, Managing Director of Hamburg Invest, said: “In 2019 we were able to broker more than 43 hectares of commercial space. 25.9 hectares were owned by the municipality, and 17.3 by private investors. We have served as the main port of call for all interested companies, supporting the entire process from site development and targeting clients to the final sales contract. This has made it far easier for companies looking for sites in Hamburg.” Hamburg Invest also helped seven (2018: 5) companies establish or expand their business in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region.”
City of the future
The positive annual results comply with a recent survey entitled European Cities of the Future 2020/21 conducted by the Financial Times’ fDi magazine. Hamburg ranked second in the “Large European Cities” category, first in the “Human Capital and Lifestyle” category and third in the “Economic Potential” category. Hagemann noted: “To retain our position as a top business location in Europe, we need to ensure an attractive business environment and keep developing our infrastructure for young, technology-orientated companies in particular. Innovations are vital for strengthening a location’s competitive edge.” A comparative study by Copenhagen Capacity business development agency found that Hamburg Invest was the most efficient in all the cities surveyed, i.e. Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, and Stockholm.
Brexit triggering move to Hamburg
More than 100 British majority-owned companies have set up shop in Hamburg since the referendum on Brexit in June 2016. However, it remains unclear whether this was directly related to the outcome or a corporate expansion strategy. Most companies were in the services sector and likely sought an additional location in the EU mainland because of Brexit. At least three industrial companies expanded their production facilities in Hamburg, while scaling down or shutting production sites in Britain. The private lottery provider ZEAL Network SE, for instance, relocated its headquarters from London to Hamburg last October. Originally founded in Hamburg in 1999 as “Tipp 24”, the company moved to London in 2008 and is now back on home ground. Fourteen companies, including some Asian and North American (ones) that Hamburg Invest helped relocate, cited Brexit as their decision for Hamburg.
Hamburg’s outlook for 2020
The German government has lowered its 2020 forecast for economic growth owing mainly to declining world trade. GDP is now expected to grow by 1.1 per cent. However, commerce in Hamburg is expected to grow above the national average. Strittmatter said: “With focal themes such as future mobility, AI and hydrogen, Hamburg embraces topical issues of the future. Hamburg Invest will actively shape this process. One of the key activities here will be our commitment to advancing the hydrogen initiative of the north German states.” The company will also focus on expanding services for skilled professionals and new talent as well as services for start-up businesses in 2020, he added.
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