Digitization attracts companies to Berlin

The economy in the capital city continues to develop positively. The balance sheet figures released by Berlin Partner for Business and Technology confirmed Berlin’s solid economic growth: In total, Berlin Partner organized 302 projects that helped companies create 6,775 new jobs in Berlin, with total investments running to €552.5m. Berlin Partner provides companies with economic development support to help in their settlement and growth in Berlin. Since 2014, the number of companies settling in Berlin has more than doubled to 126 in 2016. Companies from the south of Germany are particularly attracted to Berlin by the opportunity of collaborating with the local start-up scene. For the first time in five years, companies moving to Berlin accounted for more new jobs than established companies already operating here.

Ramona Pop, Mayor and Senator for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises, says: “Berlin's economy is growing stronger than that of the national average. This is primarily the achievement of businesses and their employees. It shows that the Berlin economy is well-positioned with its mix of established and young businesses.” The senator also announced a “strategy of digitization for Berlin”. A “coordinator of digital Berlin” will link the different political activities relevant to digitization to social and economic players. "We are going to expand digital infrastructure so that digital business processes can be represented and processed optimally. These include the expansion of the fiber optic network and the new mobile communication standard, 5G, which are needed for future business models,” said Pop. “Berlin Partner for Business and Technology plays an important part in innovation projects, information about funding offers and, above all, the opportunity to form networks between well-established businesses and young start-ups.”

A glance at the clusters and sectors shows that the digital economy remains the principal creator of jobs. The clusters of ICT, media and the creative economy account for over half of all new jobs in Berlin Partner projects. Many of them emerge on the interface between the digital economy and other industries such as transport: For instance, VW opened its Digital:Lab in Berlin in 2016, where software specialists are working on a digital ecosystem to provide new mobility services and smart vehicle features. The lab has since grown and now employs a staff of 50.

Both manufacturing and the start-up scene make a positive economic contribution to the city’s development across all clusters and sectors: Every 3rd new job in projects supported by Berlin Partner is created by a start-up, while the industrial sector continues to account for over half of all investments in the city. “Industrial companies come to Berlin because it is here that they find the digital natives they need to design how they will operate in the future. Berlin’s start-up scene is not merely sizeable, it has become extremely professionalized,” says Dr. Stefan Franzke, Spokesperson and Managing Director at Berlin Partner for Business and Technology. The ties between established enterprises and start-ups drive innovation and guarantee the creation and protection of jobs. One example is the collaboration between Ledvance and volatiles lighting: Berlin Partner brokered contact between the lighting giant (formerly part of the Osram Group) and the start-up specialized in innovative surface lighting solutions. Aside from opening the door for the start-up to tap into new markets and Ledvance to open up new possibilities in the smart home and business market, the cooperation is intended to secure jobs at the Berlin facility. volatiles has since moved to the factory grounds.

Third-party funding has also stimulated Berlin’s powerhouse economy. Here, Berlin Partner can look back on a successful year, acquiring €49 million in third-party funding, equivalent to a 30 percent increase. This area is driven by the health and optics sectors in particular. “The blend of established companies, the numerous start-ups and the innovative research environment found in the German capital provides an ideal setting for innovation projects,” emphasizes Andrea Joras, Managing Director at Berlin Partner for Business and Technology. “Berlin has developed into a leading region of science in Europe.” This year, for instance, will see the launch of WindNODE, a large-scale project in which 50 affiliated partners will spend four years working on solutions to feed large volumes of renewable energies into the electricity grids as efficiently as possible. WindNODE extends across all six federal states in the former East Germany. Involving partners from business and science, it is designed as a lighthouse project in the energy transition, with Berlin at its center. The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is funding WindNODE to the tune of roughly €36m.

 

Visit more information and charts on the Berlin Partner 2016 balance sheet.