Fatih Özdemir travels a lot to Africa and the Middle East, where most of his customers are. These are mainly wholesalers and hotels who buy furniture in bulk. In 2017, Özdemir settled on Bremen as the preferred location for his company headquarters, and in early 2018, Brefeo Hanse GmbH opened its office in Bremen Airport-City. The furniture is manufactured in Turkey and delivered directly from there to the customer. Özdemir’s furniture is now set to come to Bremen, too.
Fatih Özdemir was born in 1981 in Augsburg, but moved to live with his grandparents in Turkey when he was four. He studied European and International Relations in Ankara and obtained a master’s degree in 2003. After graduating, Özdemir worked at Akbank in Istanbul, before moving to work in customer relations at Türkiye Finans Participation Bank for two years. “That’s when I realised that nine-to-five jobs are not for me. I needed to get out and do something entirely different,” Özdemir says.
In 2007, he joined a furniture company with a strong customer base in Africa. “The market there is much larger than you might think. To keep the transport costs per item to a minimum, we sold the furniture to wholesalers and hotels.” Business was mainly conducted through personal contacts, which is why Özdemir travelled to Africa a lot, to countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. There and at trade fairs, he gradually built up a network of contacts, including in China and the Middle East. “Business was good, but I wanted to stand on my own two feet and no longer be an employee.”
In 2009, Özdemir founded the Roveyda Group based in Bursa, around 240 kilometres south of Istanbul. He used his contacts in Africa and sold furniture made by a number of Turkish manufacturers. “Our catalogue was extensive, but we only manufactured to order and then shipped the items in containers,” says Özdemir. “My customers would recommend me to others, and I now have long-standing friendships with many wholesalers.” He also exported to Angola, Libya and Oman, and business was booming. “But it was quite stressful. Some containers held up to 250 items, and it was vital that all the lists and numbers were correct.”
In the meantime, Özdemir had married and had a two-year-old child. Looking to expand his business to the EU and establish contacts to European furniture manufacturers, he felt that being geographically closer to the EU would be an advantage, and so the family decided to relocate. “As I was born in Augsburg, Germany was the obvious choice. But we also seriously considered Norway, as I have many contacts there too,” Özdemir says. In the end, he decided against Norway, as it is even further north, living costs are relatively high and in winter the days are short and the nights are long. And the language would also be an issue. Germany was the favourite, therefore. Özdemir travelled to Bremen and Osnabrück to meet with customers, and in Bremen he also attended meetings at the chamber of commerce and with Bremeninvest. After that, the decision was easy.
Setting up a business in Bremen was easy and unbureaucratic.
Fatih Özdemir, managing director of Brefeo Hanse GmbH
The name Brefeo is an acronym: Bre for Bremen, F for Fatih, E for Evrim (his wife) and O for Özdemir. “The port was a further decisive factor for me. I am now looking for a showroom where I can exhibit my furniture and current ranges, as many customers like to see what they are buying before placing an order.” Some customers, for example from Armenia and Jordan, are quite prepared to fly to Bremen to do just that. “The excellent connection to the terminals in Bremerhaven means I can easily have the furniture sent to Bremen.”
In the summer of 2017, the family moved to Bremen. Over the first few months, Özdemir spent most of his time settling his family in and taking care of the necessary paperwork: “The initial period was not easy. Our first apartment had a mould problem, so we had to move again quickly. My wife is a food technician, but needs to improve her German before she can work here. But she couldn’t start the German course until our son’s childcare place had been confirmed. Residency permits, registrations – everything got sorted out in the end, but it took us a while to settle in Bremen.”
Özdemir can now focus more on his business, and on 1 January 2018 he moved into his office in the World Trade Center in Bremen Airport-City. From here he sells his furniture and organises the manufacture and shipping to his customers. His office is next door to other young international businesses, such Albrecht und R GmbH. The proximity to the airport is ideal, as Özdemir still travels a lot to trade fairs and to visit customers in India and Africa. “I have a website with a catalogue, but I’ve made a conscious decision not to have an online shop,” he says. “I believe that direct contact, either face-to-face or on the phone, is the only way to give customers the right advice so that they receive exactly what they want.”
Özdemir enjoys his independence and working for himself. He appreciates the importance of his network of furniture manufacturers, logistics providers, customers and other partners, which he is continually expanding. He now also sells furniture made in Germany to the Middle East. The next step is to open a showroom in Bremen and attract customers from north Germany.
Your contacts for relocating to Bremen are: Thorsten Tendahl, team leader of Bremen’s business support and relocations service, tel: +49 (0)421 960 0121, email@example.com and Thomas Hofhans, relocations project manager, tel: +49 (0)421 960 0251, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your contact for Bremen Airport-City is Andreas Zimmermann, tel: +49 (0)421 960 0124, email@example.com. If you are interested in moving to Bremen from abroad, please contact Kolja Umland, tel: +49 (0)421 960 0339, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Bremen is known in China as one of the world’s major ports. But that’s just one of the factors attracting Chinese companies to our Hanseatic city.
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The Bremen Hansalinie Industrial Estate is ideally situated for businesses in the automotive industry, located in the immediate vicinity of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen just off the A1 autobahn. But it also offers a number of benefits for service providers, trading companies and the skilled trades. If you want to set up business here, you need to act quickly.
Artificial intelligence isn’t just a matter of computer programming. It’s a challenging question: how can a robot successfully deal with real, unpredictable surroundings? For 30 years, solutions to this problem have been developed at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). This Bremen-based facility has been so successful that its employees are now founding their own company.
In April 2018, Team Beverage AG moved its headquarters from Wildeshausen in Lower Saxony to Bremen. The company provides services to the drinks industry in wholesale, retail and the catering and convenience sectors. Now, its success story is set to continue at Bremen Airport-Stadt with the relocation of its head office and 90 or so employees.
Huong Thi Hoang is the new voice of Bremen’s economic development agency in Vietnam. The country has one of the world’s fastest growing economies and is extremely popular with international investors. Now, Hoang visited Bremen for the first time – and had a big surprise right on her first day.
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Bremen Airport-Stadt is an international transport hub and a centre of excellence for the aerospace industry and for research and learning. It occupies a leading position among Germany’s airport locations. Here are ten benefits that Bremen Airport-Stadt offers.
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Whenever you need to dispose of old clothes, shoes or electronic waste, you will often throw them into a recycling container. Most people have no idea that a large number of these containers are made by Bremen-based company JO-BA, which has established itself as a brand across Europe. Now the company has its sights set on greater sustainability.
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Wind energy, geophysics, translation, design and communication – we portray five diverse women, who have successful careers and shared their fascinating stories with us. What is their industry and working life like? What motivates them? Why Bremen?
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You are or want to become self-employed – but you do not know where to start? In this video, we show you how the Unternehmensservice Bremen helps you to deal with official approval procedures, forms and funding.
When it comes to Brexit it’s not about a hard-fought international contest to attract relocating businesses; it’s about coming together to manage the change, says Andreas Gerber of Bremeninvest in our interview.
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Dr Zareer Dadachanji was not going to wait around for Brexit to happen, and has held a German passport since the beginning of the year. He firmly believes that Brexit has no plus points. He and his wife have chosen to locate their new business – Model Quant Solutions – in Bremen, despite the fact that the company’s customers are mainly based in the UK.
Low property prices and a good infrastructure – logistics real estate in Bremen is the sort of thing many investors dream of. But anyone wanting to take advantage needs to be quick, because vacant spaces are getting increasingly rare, as the 2017 real estate report from Bremeninvest shows.
You rarely get the opportunity to try out musical instruments when you buy them online. Bremen-based start-up TonePedia has developed a piece of software that allows musicians to properly compare guitars, bass guitars, amplifiers and effect products online. This saves time and reduces the number of returns and the associated cost.
Quinoa is already very popular, but hardly anyone in Europe is familiar with purple corn powder. Peruvian Alejandro Leon has founded a company in Bremen, Albrecht und R GmbH, through which he imports and export fruits and vegetables from South America, and he is a firm believer in the health benefits of eating purple corn.
Space technologies have advanced greatly in recent years, leading to increasing demands from the business and research sectors. To meet these requirements, Bremen University now offers unique master’s degrees in Space Engineering and Space Sciences and Technologies.
Buoyant mood thanks to record take-up rate, encouraging market trends and strong occupancy levels. The 2017 Bremen property market report shows once again that the city is an attractive location for investors and developers.
Formula Student is a world-wide competition for self-built racing cars, with the season’s final race held at Hockenheim. A Bremen-based team has been taking part in the competition with an electric racing car since 2013, and their ambitious goal is to break into the top ten.
If astronauts want to get all the way to Mars one day, they’ll need food supplies for the journey. Part of the solution could be to grow their own grains and bake bread themselves. Bremen start-up Bake in Space is on the verge of making this vision a reality.
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Stathis Stasinopoulos was unable to find the perfect folding bicycle for his commute to work across Athens. So he developed his own. The bike, called ‘Folding Project’, is lightweight and comfortable and folds up in five seconds. This has given Stasinopoulos an unexpected new direction in life.
The research alliance ROBEX is sending robots up active volcanoes and down into the deepest and darkest seas. Working across disciplines, the 120 scientists of the 16 institutes involved are breaking new ground on this project. They have been eagerly waiting to find out what has happened to the TRAMPER diving robot, which has been exploring the deep seas around Spitsbergen for a year. Now they are ready to bring it back.
A growing number of companies are becoming more aware of their social and environmental footprint, and are looking for ways to act with greater environmental and social responsibility. Germany’s north-west is set to become the national centre for social entrepreneurship in logistics. A new platform is under development and the first round of events is being planned to achieve this goal.
This new master’s degree at Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences prepares students for the future and offers them excellent job prospects.
As both Airbus and Mercedes already know, when it comes to infrastructure and commercial property, businesses should look to Germany’s north-west. To Bremen, to be more precise. The Hanseatic city boasts the following five locational factors.
BLG Logistics Group is a major player in logistics with 18,000 employees. It established the Digilab in Bremen as a core element of its digitalisation. The company’s premises are reminiscent of start-ups in Silicon Valley, and there are good reasons for that.
Irina Lucke has been at the helm of WAB since December 2016. We talked about her role in the german-wide trade association and the challenges that an ever-changing business and regulatory environment poses for the international wind energy industry.
In June 2016, the UK voted in favour of Brexit, and the exit negotiations are currently in progress. Which industry sectors in Bremen will be particularly hit, and what effect will Brexit have on the Hanseatic city?
FabLab Bremen invites visitors to learn about new manufacturing technologies and try their hand at everything from laser cutters to printing and programming. Digital technology enthusiasts of all ages and programmers of all abilities are welcome here. And it is not long before they can put what they have learnt to good use.
Bremen's sweetest side is made of chocolate. No matter whether it’s milk or dark chocolate, nougat or marzipan. Take a walk around Bremen and taste it.
The founders of Mac Panther Materials, two brothers from Bremen, produce an open-cell metal foam for use in a number of different applications. Its secret lies in the production process that is based on a brilliant and yet simple idea.
An engine under the bonnet drives the wheels – this is the configuration that has been powering cars for over a hundred years. However, wheel hub motors – i.e. motors in the hub of the wheel, not under the bonnet – promise many advantages. Electric drive systems make this possible.
The digital revolution has reached every branch of industry. Many of the technological trends associated with the Industrial Internet of Things originated in Silicon Valley. Rene van den Hoevel, managing director of the German American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco, and Christoph Ranze, managing director of encoway GmbH and executive board member of the association bremen digitalmedia, explain why it is not only large corporations who should be looking closely at the epicentre of technological advancement.
In the space of just a few years, the maritime city of Bremerhaven has developed into a service centre for the seafaring and shipbuilding industry. At the centre of it all is the company German Dry Docks, whose managing director, Guido Försterling, has already heralded the era of ‘seafaring 4.0’.
Bionics is the application of forms and functions found in nature to technology. Marine biologist Dr Christian Hamm and his team of researchers in Bremerhaven are leading figures in this field thanks to ELiSE. They are particularly interested in the tiny, yet incredibly complex, diatoms – nature’s experts in lightweight construction.
How will Brexit affect the trading of goods between the UK and the EU? Our guest contributor Anja Markmann, who is responsible for customs and international trade law at Bremen Chamber of Commerce, explains what is likely to change from April 2019 onwards.
A new process has been attracting attention in the food industry. Developed by the Bremerhaven Institute for Food Technology and Bioprocess Engineering, the new method enables deep frozen fish to be defrosted in record time. And the fish tastes as fresh as the day it was caught.
For over 15 years, Jacobs University in Bremen has attracted young, talented individuals from all over the world. Students from 106 countries make up a community that contributes to academic achievement and produces graduates that are highly sought after by companies.
Fiona Moore is originally from Burton-on-Trent, near Birmingham, and now works as a freelance translator in Bremen. She fell in love with Bremen in her early twenties. That was back in 2000, but 17 years later she is still as enchanted by the city as she was on the first day. She tells us about settling in Bremen, about her family and about being fortunate to have found a home in here.
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It’s an adventure playground for kids, an idyllic sanctuary for couples, and a quiet retreat for those looking to escape from stress – from joggers and Nordic walkers to lovers of nature and culture, the Bürgerpark in the centre of Bremen has something for everyone. For the last 150 years, this protected heritage site in the centre of Bremen has relied solely on the support of donations to keep it open and well-maintained.
A great deal of manual labour goes into aircraft construction. Despite this – or perhaps even because of it – Airbus is changing its approach to make increased use of digital technologies. It’s also researching the applications of new manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing. And not a moment too soon, as Airbus’ site manager in Bremen, Dr André Walter, explains in our interview.
GeoSea, a subsidiary of the Belgian DEME group, is helping to construct of some of the largest offshore wind farms in the German North Sea – and in Bremen, the company has found the ideal location to carry out its work.
Art, design and people with disabilities make up the fascinating focus of the work of two young designers from Bremen. Working together with employees from community-based workshops, they develop and improve on designs for handmade products – and are continually thrilled by the potential they see in their co-designers.
Companies wishing to access the European market should be careful about their choice of location. Brexit could result in significantly higher financial and tax burdens for UK-based companies. Under these circumstances, setting up a base on the continent might be a better option. Find out what challenges companies will be facing.
Environmentally friendly manufacturing and ethical standards are the principles on which the fair trade clothing sector is based. Leela Cotton, a successful German-Turkish textile company, produces clothes for children and adults that are not only stylish, but also make a positive contribution to the environment in the way they are manufactured.
Why have so many IT companies chosen to establish themselves in Bremen? We asked five key business figures and researchers from various organisations to tell us what makes the city such an attractive location for the IT sector.
3D imaging with millimetre accuracy for underwater industrial activities and deep sea exploration – company founder Jakob Schwendner has a very clear goal. The first prototype of a camera with brand new sensor technology was built in Canada and presented to industry professionals at the Ocean Business conference in Southampton, United Kingdom, in April.
The Bremen Hansalinie Industrial Estate is a successful business park that is currently undergoing expansion. Several major logistics companies have based themselves here, developing increasingly sophisticated processes that aim to optimise just-in-sequence production for the automotive industry.
Of all the states in Germany, Bremen has the highest density of major research institutions in relation to its population – a fact that also benefits those who study there. It offers a range of international education opportunities for prospective academics with strong practical relevance and research activities that span a diverse range of fields.
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They came, they saw, they marvelled – Chinese business people in Bremen visited the Mercedes-Benz plant and were surprised to find that an automotive manufacturer with a vast robot workforce was also Bremen’s largest employer, with just under 13,000 (human) employees. But where do they all work?
Three continents, four countries, and Bremen at the centre of it all – a start-up could hardly be more international. The young entrepreneurs Ahmed Cheema and Stefan Kuzmanovski want to make sustainable manufacturing and the use of ethically sourced materials standard practice.
Lighter, more bespoke and more intricate: for companies open to new ideas in manufacturing and construction, metal parts produced by 3D printers present an economic alternative to conventional die cutting, rolling and milling. Leading the way is Materialise, a company with its own metal printing plant in Bremen.
Bremen has been twinned with the city of Dalian in north-eastern China since 1985. Find out more about the similarities and connections that the two port cities share.
Up to now, cricket has been very much a niche sport in Germany. But that is changing. In Bremen, a woman is calling the shots in this male-dominated sport – with great success. Her men’s team are the 2016 German cricket champions.
Wearables and smart glasses provide hands-free digital information. A visit at the headquarter of the global market leader for Industrial Wearable Computing, Ubimax in Bremen.
In 2016, companies invested a combined total of €229 million in the federal state of Bremen. Where do these investors hail from, how many jobs have they created, and what is their line of business? Our infographics provide an overview.
How will the UK’s impending exit from the EU affect the logistics sector? Günther Hörbst, Managing Director of the Via Bremen Foundation, on the economic links between the United Kingdom and the EU
The Chinese designer Haoyu Li combines his German design degree with Chinese business acumen. Now he is opening a design office in Bremen, with the aim of making it easier for Chinese products to enter the German market, and to bring German brands to China.
Keen to remain in Bremen? Then why not combine residency status with self-employment? Manuel Kühn from Bremeninvest’s welcome service knows all about how a start-up could allow British citizens to beat Brexit and kill two birds with one stone.
From initial idea to successful move. Andreas Gerber, who heads up the international relocation team at Bremeninvest, knows what international companies need to do to set up a business in Bremen. Here he tells us about the most important steps on the ...
BLG LOGISTICS GROUP AG & Co. KG’s AutoTerminal in Bremerhaven is a record-breaking automotive hub. Every year, the terminal handles some 2.3 million vehicles. But that’s not all.
Going it alone is rarely an easy option. Co-working enables entrepreneurs to work in a shared space and experience the benefits and synergies that come with this. There are nine co-working spaces in Bremen – which one is right for you?
Permits and authorisations, a mountain of applications and a language barrier too. These are just some of the difficulties you face when starting a business abroad. Luckily, an advice centre opened in Bremen in early 2015 that can help you through the jungle: Bremeninvest’s welcome service.
Geographical distance and cultural differences make it hard to relocate or start up a company in another country. Luckily, help is at hand from the team at the World Trade Center (WTC) in Bremen. They'll do all they can to make your international business a success.
In December 2016 ministers from the European Space Agency (ESA) member states met to determine the roadmap for the European space sector for the years ahead. Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Bremen submitted joint recommendations. In the following interview Dr Peter Vits, Bremen's State Coordinator for the Space Sector, talks about Bremen's strengths and opportunities.
The sky is not the limit, at least not in Bremen. All parts of the aerospace sector are represented in the city, from R&D to production. Aeroplane wings, Ariane rockets and Galileo satellites – Bremen is one of the leading locations in the international aerospace industry. Here are five factors behind Bremen’s story of success.
In 2015 Bremen won the right to host the International Astronautical Congress for the second time, after having successfully held the event in 2003. Its bid was the result of a collaboration between the Bremen regional government and Bremen’s space industry and space research sector. Event partners include the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the German Aerospace Centre.
The Bremen region has long been a pioneer in electric mobility and is now set to enjoy further success after Mercedes-Benz and Borgward announced that they will be making electric vehicles in the city.
Bremen knows how to make cars: the Mercedes-Benz plant by the Weser river has been in operation for almost 40 years, is the focal point of the city’s automotive industry and automotive clusters, and is now the company’s biggest global facility in terms of vehicle production numbers. Reason enough for an ever-growing number of suppliers and logistics firms to base themselves in Bremen.
For 30 years, the Cargo Distribution Centre in Bremen has delivered excellence – as an investment location and a logistics hub. Today more than 150 companies employing approximately 8,000 people are based at the site. It offers direct links to the ports, the autobahn and has a close proximity to Bremen City Airport.
Language barriers, unfamiliar legal and fiscal systems, qualifications that need to be recognised. There are many additional hurdles that entrepreneurs have to overcome when setting up a new branch or a new company in a different country. Bremeninvest is committed to offering you advice and support from the outset.
You might expect a Bremen-based company specialising in innovative instruments and implants for spinal surgery to be located at the Technology Park. But you'd be wrong. NuVasive Germany GmbH has its head office at the heart of the city centre next to Wallanlagen Park. Now employing a team of 44 people, the company generates annual revenue of more than €10 million – a figure that looks set to rise.