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Leverage Berlin’s Start-Up Environment to Scale or Develop Your Business

by Olufisayo
Berlin’s Start-Up Environment

If you wish to develop and scale your business, Berlin could very likely be your next destination. We give you four reasons why Berlin should be your start up city together with five tips to how you get off to a good start in the German capital.

Berlin has overtaken London’s position as the best start-up city if you look at investments done. And it is hard not to notice the number of international start-ups that have settled in Berlin and take advantage of the funding and talent that Berlin offers. But does it make sense for companies and entrepreneurs to settle in Berlin and how do you get off to an effective start with you Berlin-based start-up? The IT consultancy Right People Group has made the move and will in this blog post share valuable knowledge and learnings after the first two years in the capital of Germany.

Why Berlin?

1. Easy access to international talent

Berlin is packed with young expats that have moved to the dynamic environment of Berlin to boost their careers. They are well-educated, have an international mindset and are ambitious.

As long as the working environment is good, and the work tasks challenging, they do not necessarily expect working hours from 9 to 5. Not only does an international team increase your chances of having a perfect mix of competencies, but it will also help you internationalize your business model right from the start.

2. An inspiring environment

Berlin is the new start-up and tech city of Europe, which provides a unique environment for people to develop social and professional competencies. As a smaller start-up, you will be able to find many shared office spaces with various focus areas, which facilitate exchange of experience among office colleagues. Furthermore, you will find a lot of events, meetups and networks that make it easy to get in touch with first movers and relevant persons that can keep you updated on the newest trends and tendencies in the market.

3. Lower costs

Berlin’s increasing popularity can be measured on the housing and office prices of the city, regardless of if you want to buy or rent. But the city is still cheap compared to larger European cities and capitals. The relatively low living costs positively affect wages and other expenses you might have as a start-up. But please notice that as an employer you cover half the social security costs of your employees.

Easy access to capital

If you are looking for new investors, there is a great chance that you will find them – or they will find you – in Berlin. As Berlin has been stamped as the leading tech start-up city in Europe, numerous business angels have put their eyes on the city. The city of Berlin has also made a great effort of securing public investments, while many funds and large enterprises have innovation ventures in the city. The money is not floating around, but the possibilities are definitely there.

Great connections to all of Europe

If you are not able to make a clean cut, it is still easy and cheap to travel to most European regions from Berlin. With two airports, Berlin offers a wide range of connections to all around Europe making it easy for you to travel both to and from the city.

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Five tips to start up in Berlin

  1. Use Berlin Partner

Berlin Partner is a public authority, which primary mission is to get more companies to start up in Berlin. This means that you can get free tips and advice through the settling process in Berlin. If you want more comprehensive help, you can buy additional services depending on your concrete needs. You can find more information on their website or via their startup unit, but you can also book a meeting with an adviser that can help you with your exact situation. Check out Gründen in Berlin or, if you are a British start-up, get in touch with the Department of International Trade at the British embassy in Berlin.

  1. Take advantage of a shared office space

It can be hard to find and decide on a location for your office in Berlin, without being physically in the city. The many office spaces in Berlin are a good way of settling in the city and is also a scalable solution, which can be very important for start-ups. Furthermore, office spaces can contribute with a valuable professional network.

  1. Get help with administrative tasks

It is not without reason that people talk about the notorious German bureaucracy. The public sector has yet to take the digitalisation medicine of the tech industry. You are likely to experience the lack of digital solutions, when you are being hit by a tsunami of letters and documents that you need to sign, before you snail-mail or even fax them back (!). The system works, but is highly time consuming – especially when the language and procedures are foreign. Make sure to have a proper adviser that can guide and help you with the paper work, so you can focus on your business. Since it can be hard to figure out the extent of the tasks, it is a good idea to contact more than one provider and always ask for a fixed price. In that way, you make sure the costs are not getting too high. We ended up with this company, with friendly employees that also communicate in English: http://www.hecht-kollegen.de/.

  1. Embrace new knowledge and increase your network through Meetups

Berlin is definitely a meetup city and you will find meetups of all kinds of topics. Meetups are a great way of building new and strong contacts and perhaps even find future employees.

  1. Speak German

Even though you will manage with English and the bit of German you might know from school, you will have an advantage if you speak the language more fluently. So be open and find a German language school or spend your spare time on one of the many online based teaching platforms such as Memrise or Babble.

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