Bitkom survey: Startups satisfied with Germany as a business location

Germany is a better location for startups than its reputation, the industry association Bitkom concludes from a recent survey. But the founders criticize bureaucratic hurdles.

Whether sales opportunities, infrastructure or the labour market - in most areas start-ups are satisfied with Germany as a business location. This is the result of a current survey of 302 German IT start-ups conducted by the industry association Bitkom. The founders are particularly satisfied with the quality of life at the location of their start-up (94 percent), the market environment such as access to customers and suppliers (83 percent), the infrastructure such as transport connections and broadband availability (80 percent) as well as the existing start-up network and the quality of the local educational facilities (78 percent each).

On the other hand, the founders criticize the cooperation with offices and authorities: Around two out of three founders (63 percent) state that they are dissatisfied with the way official matters are handled, for example when it comes to contact with administrations, the accessibility of public authorities or the support requested there. Bitkom President Achim Berg is critical: "Startups are working on solutions for the digital world and are being held back by an analogue administration. If politicians are serious about start-up funding, they have to start with it in public offices and authorities." The president of the association adds: "The authorities could also benefit directly from start-ups. There are a number of founders who have ideas for a digital administration."

The coalition agreement of the current government, however, provides for a series of measures to relieve start-ups of bureaucratic tasks. This is well received by startups, as the Bitkom determines: Three quarters (78 percent) say that a one-stop shop for business start-ups would be helpful. Seven out of ten founders (71 percent) say this about the plan to exempt start-ups from monthly advance VAT returns in the first two years. Seven out of ten (71 percent) are also in favour of plans for a digital citizen portal for companies, in which all administrative services are to be networked across authorities.

In addition to the bureaucracy, the start-ups are also rather dissatisfied with several other location factors: one in two criticises the costs and availability of commercial premises as well as access to financing sources (49 percent each), followed by local promotion programmes (40 percent) and the personnel situation (37 percent).