The German economy is in good shape and its share of European GDP currently sums up to 21 per cent. In forecasts Germany´s economic growth is projected to strengthen also in 2016. Last year Germany regained its’ position as Finland’s most important trading partner.
The Finnish ecosystem can benefit directly from a strong German economy, because it has something to offer that the German industry urgently needs: strong competence in digitalization.
For Dr. Jan Feller, Deputy General Manager of German-Finnish Chamber of Commerce, the digital transformation of industries create tremendous opportunities for innovative Finnish companies. The German mechanical engineering industry is strong but it needs to be transformed urgently into the digital century to defend its leadership position. German industrial leaders have well understood that they cannot miss this trend. Feller points out that “Finnish startups have huge opportunities to enter this market, work with world leaders and eventually use their cooperation as a stepping stone to go global.”
Of course Germany is also a highly competitive market, you may encounter it challenging to get access to the right decision makers and be able to proof your solution. Having a partner with a network to prepare your market entry, teach you the local mentality and eventually open doors for business is very valuable and can save a lot of time and investments.
The German-Finnish Chamber of Commerce can be such a partner. The Chamber has fostered and nourished the Finnish-German economic relations since 1978. Services range from industry-specific data packages, competition and product analysis up to the arrangement of individual meetings with German companies. Most importantly, they offer a network and hospitality to enter the German market to understand quicker the local mindset and rules. The whole network of German Chambers of Commerce expands further to 130 locations in 90 countries.
Feller emphasizes that Germany is despite its size for many startups not the most obvious option to expand to. He notes that “the language is unnecessarily seen as a too high obstacle although a new generation of companies is much more open to using English in their communication”. Here the Chamber supports companies to overcome the language barrier by using its reputation as established and trusted partner as a door opener.
STARTBAHN – A Fast Track To Enter The German Market
Finnish startups are international right from the start. While the local market offers growth for very limited time, it is only reasonable to look quite quickly towards other markets. As the fourth largest ICT market and the biggest gaming industry in Europe, Germany offers a lot of opportunities. Additionally the German economy is going strong and companies invest in new business models and technologies. Companies like Safera and Rightware´s proof well how innovative Finnish companies can succeed in Germany and grow through cooperations with German companies.
Knowing the potential of Finnish startups who still have challenges with the different sales processes, culture and communications have convinced the Chamber that they want to offer a service tailored especially for startups. They called it STARTBAHN – the runway.
”STARTBAHN is a fast track to enter the German market. Startups have a direct contact point at the hub who guides them to learn and expand their network as well as helps with market specific questions to find the right contact and business partner, making introductions.”
Networking with other entrepreneurs is essential to share experiences and learn. The STARTBAHN service gives Finnish startups access to the Chamber’s partner hubs in major German cities like hub:raum in Berlin, Werk1 in Munich, Startplatz in Cologne and betahaus in Hamburg. There you can book a place to work, receive guidance and last but not least, have access to the local startup community. Meeting people in the same situation, gaining insights from other startups and eventually establish a solid network, is something you can do only face to face.
Berlin is the hot city for startups right now. Still Germany is a decentralised market and industries settled at separate hubs. STARTBAHN takes startups to Germany´s most popular hubs to enable them to test which hub works best as a starting point to conquer the market.
More information on the German-Finnish Chamber of Commerce and its’ services can be found on www.dfhk.fi.