After Brexit – Searching for alternatives
A week has passed since the memorable Pro-Brexit vote in Great Britain. But what will the relationship between Britain and the European Union look like in future? One thing is for sure: everything is unclear. By now, the feelings that ran high after the vote have calmed somewhat, and the focus has shifted to finding a way to move forward. But the British themselves are not the only ones needing perspectives for the time ahead; so do companies with sites in Great Britain or those companies planning to locate there in the near future.
For many companies, Great Britain is the preferred location for their European headquarters. The country is a bridgehead to Europe for companies from the USA and Japan. 24 per cent of European headquarters of foreign companies are located in Great Britain, of which 1,300 are Japanese and 500 Chinese corporations; and all of them consider the direct connection to all other EU states to be a key reason to settle in London or one of the other metropolitan cities in Great Britain. This thinking may soon fall by the wayside. That is one reason why numerous companies with branch offices in Britain had announced before the Brexit vote that a worst-case scenario would prompt them to begin looking for alternative locations.
Bavaria: At the heart of Europe
There can be no doubt that having a branch within the European Union itself is a tremendous advantage when doing business according to uniform EU standards. For those searching for new perspectives for their relocation or new settlement it is wise to choose a central location from which to launch their business. So why not look for such a site on mainland Europe?
Google, Microsoft, IBM and GE have shown the way: they have chosen Bavaria as the location for their European headquarters or R&D centres, and there are numerous reasons behind their decision. Bavaria is, with the backdrop of a flourishing industry and its high export quota, an ideal base from which to launch business activities throughout Europe and beyond. And Bavaria itself is an attractive sales market with its broad spectrum of companies active across all user industries: digitization has also created an enormous need for innovative solutions – hence, tremendous potential for all companies who offer exactly what's in demand.
An additional factor: the central location at the heart of Europe, which provides companies with immediate access to all destinations – whether thanks to the new satellite terminal at the Munich Airport with a capacity of an additional eleven million passengers annually, or the excellent transport network.
Playing a leading role in digitization
Apart from the above reasons, Bavaria's high digitization competence delivers another convincing argument for the state. Yet the many medium-sized companies and their innovations in the Internet of Things or Industry 4.0 are not the only ones making substantial contributions: global players who have decided to settle in Bavaria also make significant contributions to Munich's reputation as Europe's ITC capital; a fact confirmed by the European Commission. One recent example: Despite attractive alternatives such as Silicon Valley or its headquarters in Armonk, IBM decided last year to establish its worldwide IoT-base in Munich.
Assistance for start-ups
Apart from focussing on innovations for their own business sectors, companies and the state of Bavaria focus heavily on promoting start-ups. Bavarian global players including Adidas, Allianz, BMW and media corporation ProSiebenSat1 all have their own start-up units or accelerator programmes. Siemens recently announced that the corporation will be investing EUR one billion over the next five years in the promotion of disruptive ideas. At WERK1, Munich's incubator for digital entrepreneurship, together with some of the world's biggest players in the insurance sector and the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, will launch the first InsurTech Accelerator Programme, W1 InsurTech. Entrepreneurs can take advantage of a wide ranging promotion portfolio thanks to the support provided by business incubators, targeted funding or the establishment of networks. This is why Bavaria is a real alternative for young technology start-ups.
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