30 years of successful business promotion in Vienna
633 million euros in grants, 21,500 projects realized, 100,000 new, secure jobs. This is the balance of three decades of successful promotion work by the Vienna Business Agency.
Renate Brauner, Vice-Mayor and Executive City Councillor of Finance, Economic Affairs and Public Utilities, puts it in a nutshell: “Objective achieved: the Vienna Business Agency works, is successful, and crisis-proof.” The business agency has made a significant contribution towards “strengthening the economic role of Vienna at the heart of Europe and further enhancing the future perspectives of the Vienna economy.” Brauner gave a joint annual press conference at City Hall together with Mayor Michael Häupl and Gerhard Hirczi, managing director of the Vienna Business Agency. The occasion was 30 successful years of promotion, service and initiative work by the Vienna Business Agency, originally founded in the year 1982 as the Vienna Business Promotion Fund.
Research, technology, innovationThe agency’s primary goals have remained unchanged: to secure Vienna as a leading business location in Central Europe, and help to enhance its prospects for the future. However, during times of rapid change, Vienna’s promotion priorities have changed since the agency was first established, as Renate Brauner explained: from company to project promotion with performance-oriented funding – the “watering-can principle” was abandoned long ago – and now priority promotion with a special focus on research, technology and innovation (RTI). At the same time, the credo has been to pull Vienna through times of crisis by means of targeted investment. “We shall continue to adopt this approach in the future, especially now, since we have not yet overcome the global economic crisis, directly supporting the Vienna economy and investing in the future of the city,” continued Renate Brauner.
Vienna business promotion worksA new external study has substantiated the business promotion policy tried and tested in Vienna for decades. The study carried out by the research institute Synthesis demonstrates that Vienna has been able to achieve significant positive effects with the grants issued by the business agency. Renate Brauner summarized the results as follows: on average, the companies promoted have produced 14 per cent higher profits and taken on around 60 per cent more employees each year, even in the crisis year 2010. Overall the grants issued by the Vienna Business Agency over the last three decades have generated an additional 2.6 billion euros for the business location Vienna. A total of 55,000 jobs have been secured or created by companies due to these grants alone.
Service, impetus, contact networkThe business agency is a point of contact and service agency for about 100,000 Vienna companies, from start-ups to high-tech enterprises, with highly qualified staff. The agency focuses on three main areas, as explained by managing director Gerhard Hirczi: a wide range of grants for companies, real estate bargains and urban development, as well as an compressive range of services and consulting with an efficient contact network. It consist of a group of companies, including the subsidiaries ZIT (technology) and “departure” (creative), and has also had its own offices in Brussels since 1994.
Forthcoming priorities“This year we shall be assisting Vienna companies with grants to the tune of 33 million euros,” Gerhard Hirczi announced. The range of grants will be just as broad as the Vienna economy itself. In order to be able to survive in the face of global competition, specific priorities have been set in order to advance innovation and progress. One such priority has been set in the area of sustainability. This year Vienna will be promoting ideas for a smart city, opening Aspern IQ, a separate, energy-efficient technology centre at Aspern Urban Lakeside, and launching an environment cluster, according to managing director Hirczi. “In doing so, Vienna is taking further steps towards sustainable urban development,” emphasized Vice-Mayor Renate Brauner.
As early as the second half of 2012, the agency’s subsidiary ZIT will be concentrating on Smart Vienna as its priority. As special call for this project will be launched on 19 June. Everything revolves around innovative products, processes and services. “We are looking for projects that will sustainably improve life in Vienna so that we can also continue to be the ‘smartest’ city in the world,” explained Renate Brauner. Vienna as a research location will be further enhanced with the opening of Aspern IQ this autumn. A modern infrastructure will offer ideal conditions especially for young companies, scientists and developers in sustainable high-tech industries. “The City of Vienna intends to be sustainably represented on the environment sector and create new ‘eco jobs’ in the long term,” concluded Brauner.
Vienna Business Agency Group
ZIT - research, development, innovation:
The business agency set up its subsidiary ZIT in 2001 for these top promotion priorities. ZIT is the City of Vienna’s technology agency for high-tech and research companies as well as for the media economy, and has so far supported 933 projects that have seeded investments totalling more than 500 million euros. The best example of this is Campus Vienna Biocenter in the urban development area of “Neu Marx” in Vienna’s third district. The campus now employs nearly 1,400 scientists and students, making Campus Vienna Biocenter Austria’s most important life science location. At the same time, Neu Marx is also growing into Austria’s largest media location: Media Quarter Marx 1-3 (MQM). The centre already accommodates about 40 media enterprises, including the private television station Puls4, Echo Medienhaus-Verlag and Wiener Zeitung. MQM is now fully let. www.zit.co.at
„departure“ - creative agency:
The City of Vienna’s creative agency has promoted some 360 projects since its founding in 2003, creating around 1,500 new jobs and seeding investments of about 80 million euros. www.departure.at
LISAvienna (Life Science Austria Vienna) - network:
This network is inter-industry and interdisciplinary, and currently caters for the needs of 315 Vienna companies. Its primary concern is assisting and promoting life science companies in Vienna as well as cluster departments for IT, mobility and environment. lisavr.at/en/lisavienna/about-us
Mingo - start-up service:
Mingo takes care of Vienna companies with an immigration background. About a third of Vienna companies are affected, representing an important economic factor in the city. They are supported by Mingo’s service facility, which has existed since 2007, providing direct support for entrepreneurs, start-ups, one-man firms, small companies and newly self-employed individuals. Offerings include free coaching and low-price office space. The Mingo team has so far organized workshops for more than 5,000 participants and advised about 800 neo-entrepreneurs. A separate service, Mingo Migrant Enterprises, offers consulting in ten different languages: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Polish, Bulgarian, Romanian, English, Spanish, Turkish and Russian. www.mingo.at
Expat - international meeting point:
Expatriates – international skilled workers and executives in Vienna – can obtain a comprehensive free service at the Vienna Business Agency’s Expat Centre in Vienna, which has also since become a very popular meeting point. The Expat Centre in Vienna was opened in autumn 2010, and has since provided personal advice to some 2,000 expatriates from 68 different nations around the world. A handy booklet – the “Expat-Guide” – also gives answers to the most important questions involving living and working in Vienna. www.expatcenter.at/
Relocating foreign firms:
In cooperation with the Austrian government’s ABA Invest, the Vienna Business Agency helps to cultivate Vienna as a top location for international corporations. Some 800 international companies have relocated to Vienna since 2004. The majority of them came from Germany, Switzerland and the USA, creating about 7,500 new jobs as a result. At the same time, however, Vienna has also been able to bolster its function as a headquarters location. There are presently more than 200 international companies like Henkel CEE serving their foreign markets from Vienna.
Plots of land for companies:
The Vienna Business Agency plays a key role by providing plots of land for companies. To date the agency has relocated more than a thousand companies on a total of six million square metres in Vienna. This is equivalent to the entire area of several Vienna districts (Neubau, Josefstadt and Alsergrund). These companies employ nearly 50,000 people. Overall, more than 100,000 jobs have been secured and new ones created in Vienna. These relocations themselves represent an investment of about four billion euros in the location Vienna. The Vienna Business Agency currently has about 750,000 square metres of property available for companies. By the year 2015 there will be another 350,000 square metres of space at Aspern Urban Lakeside, Europe’s largest urban development area project. This futuristic, multifunctional urban district offers space for a wide range of industries, from science and research to industrial firms with a focus on production.
Real estate development:
In the field of real estate development, the business agency offers innovative initiatives that play an important role in enhancing the international attractiveness of Vienna as a business location. Properties are made available, developed and constructed, such as technology and special buildings for business and research, thus improving the infrastructure in the process. One of the priorities is energy-efficient construction, and a model project in this field is the new “Aspern IQ” technology centre, which will be the first building to open at Aspern Urban Lakeside in the autumn. It will be one of the most energy efficient industrial buildings in the city. Aspern IQ will generate more energy than it consumes, and create 250 new jobs. As long ago as 2008, Vienna opened ENERGYbase, which was the most innovative passive energy office building of its time, certified by the EU Commission as a “Green Building”.
Success in figures
• 633 million euros in grants issued
• 21,500 projects supported
• 55,000 jobs secured or created for Vienna thanks to grants
• Additional 2.6 billion euros generated as a result of grants
• 6,000,000 square metres of industrial space utilized
• Premises established for more than 1,000 companies
• Jobs for about 50,000 employees
• Seeded investments of around four billion euros