The IT industry in Bremen is thriving. According to recent figures, the city is currently home to 1,330 IT businesses generating a combined annual revenue of €1.12 billion. In a comparison of federal states, Bremen ranks sixth for percentage of workers employed in the IT sector (German), and, in a ranking of the largest online agencies, the Bremen-based team neusta comes in at third place. The top spot is taken by the Plan.Net group which includes the e-commerce specialists hmmh – also located in Bremen. Impressive statistics – but 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.
"It's the steady supply of specialists, without a doubt," replies Christoph Ranze, when asked to name Bremen's greatest asset. The managing director of the mid-sized IT firm encoway is based close to the university, where he previously worked as a researcher. "There are numerous institutions here producing extremely well-educated graduates, who are also keen to remain in the area. It means there's a great selection of IT personnel for businesses to choose from."
The area has plenty of institutions to speak of, from traditional universities to Hochschulen that tend to focus more on applied sciences. Besides those in Bremen itself (the University of Bremen, the Bremen University of Applied Sciences, Jacobs University, and the FOM Hochschule), Ranze also views the universities of applied sciences in the nearby towns of Bremerhaven, Oldenburg and Wilhelmshaven as ideal recruitment pools. In addition to which, education and vocational training in Bremen has an intensive focus on IT.
Besides producing sharp-minded individuals, the universities play a great role in contributing new knowledge. Many of Bremen's companies cooperate with them on joint research projects, benefiting from the knowledge and technical accomplishments that such projects result in. It's an excellent place for research – quite literally, thanks to the University of Bremen's status as a university of excellence – and one that attracts talented individuals from all over the world.
International researchers and new students alike consciously choose Bremen as a destination – something that Richard Sethmann, an IT professor at the Bremen University of Applied Sciences, is well aware of. The degree apprenticeship it offers in information technology combines academic study with employment.
"For the participating businesses, the degree apprenticeship in information technology effectively complements the recruitment and training of highly qualified young talent. By combining academic and professional training with work experience in an actual company, we offer an appealing form of training for individuals with high potential," says Sethmann. "This appeal has meant that strong applicants from far beyond Bremen have shown an interest in these forms of training, and we have been able to recruit them."
The Bremen Innovation and Technology Centre (BITZ) is located at the technology park right next to the university. Here, entrepreneurs can get their new businesses off to a good start. Thanks to its excellent infrastructure, fast internet connection and close proximity to the many technology companies that have based themselves around the park, the centre has become an attractive site for the IT sector. It's a place where business and research go hand in hand.
Bremen's inhabitants are fond of talking about 'kurze Wege', or 'short paths'. Taken literally, the city's compact infrastructure ensures that you're never too far away from anything you need. But it's not just about the physical distance – city states such as Bremen play host to a close-knit network that brings everyone closer together. Businesspeople here quickly get to know the most important individuals in their field, as good connections are crucial for success. Factor in the close ties that businesses here have to politics and academia, not to mention the dedicated work of IT industry interest group bremen digitalmedia, and one thing is clear – the key players here are making decisions and bringing about change.
"The Überseestadt is an attractive option for companies in IT and creative industries. It has a unique atmosphere, a lively mix of all kinds of businesses," says Christian Gorldt, a department head at BIBA, the Bremen Institute for Production and Logistics, which is part of the University of Bremen. And he's right. The conversion of the former dockland area into a completely new district – one of the largest urban development projects in Europe – has attracted nationwide interest, as explained in our article: "The Überseestadt: How a 400 metre-long nucleus was transformed into Bremen's newest district".
The area has managed to preserve its atmosphere as a former port and industry hub while adding in modern architecture and infrastructure, resulting in its unique appeal. Old warehouses and sheds, brick buildings several hundreds of metres long next to newly constructed palaces of glass, all lined up on the banks of the river Weser. And it's not just about the structures, but who's occupying them as well – some of the largest IT agencies in Germany, such as hmmh and team neusta, have taken up residence here. Their neighbours are other young, newly founded companies and there is a thriving start-up culture, supported by key players from the likes of the co-working space provider weserwork.
An airport that's just a few minutes' tram ride away from the city centre. A multitude of business parks and industrial estates that lie just off the autobahn. Modern office blocks located in hubs like the Überseestadt. These are all good reasons to base yourself in Bremen, according to Ronald Wermann, chairman and co-founder of abat, an SAP service provider that operates in the city:
"We were confident about choosing Bremen as a location because the infrastructure here is ideal. As an IT service provider, we specialise in the automotive and logistics sectors, and consequently we work on projects worldwide. The good connections to the autobahn, airport and rail network enable us to get to our clients in a very short space of time, not just those in Germany but all across the world. Bremen also provides us with the ideal conditions to grow and further strengthen our position as one of the leading SAP partners in the automotive industry. Bremeninvest gave us plenty of support from the moment we began to establish ourselves here, which made the location even more appealing for us. We feel very much at home here."
Bremen is the embodiment of industry and trade. As Germany's eighth-largest industrial hub and the federal state with the highest rate of exports, it's no wonder that many companies from major sectors of industry have chosen to base themselves here. In order to ready themselves for digitalisation, all these businesses require expert knowledge – and there's no better place to find it than in Bremen itself, according to Björn Portillo, chairman of the bremen digitalmedia association:
"One of Bremen's key assets is its high number of skilled IT service providers, many of whom top the national rankings of internet agencies every year. Another is that the region is also an exciting area of activity for the sector: the proportion of the industry that makes up the business landscape here is higher than usual, meaning that there is great demand for digitalisation projects. The same applies for the many trading companies that operate internationally." It's always an advantage to have a large market right on your doorstep, even in the digitalised world.
If your ideal workplace comes with the opportunity to splash your feet about in a nearby river with a Beck's in your hand, then Bremen is the place for you. Germany's third-greenest city has plenty of parks and recreational areas where you can kick back and relax, such as the 200 hectare Bürgerpark located directly in the city centre. Or there's always its thriving theatre and music scene. Or if you're into technology, you could get involved in the Hackerspace Bremen, the Fablab 3D-printing laboratory, or… well, in this city, you're bound to find something that appeals to you, whatever your interests.
For more information on digitalisation and the Industry 4.0 competence network, please contact Kai Stührenberg, Tel.: +49 (0)421 9600 325, email@example.com
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.
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.
Photography studios, workshops and professional kitchens are rarely fully occupied round the clock. So why not let others share them? The german start-up Craftspace brings together providers of production spaces with entrepreneurs, small business owners and artists on a single online platform. It’s an arrangement that benefits everyone.
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.
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.
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.
Weatherproof displays for transport services, and screens that don’t produce glare in bright sunlight – these are just some of the devices provided by AlfaNet Computer und Electronic Handels GmbH, a Bremen-based company founded nearly 25 years ago by Thomas Lie.
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.
Bremen: Down-to-earth, yet always ready to surprise you. An attractive place to live, a city through which we can move easily and without stress – on foot along the river Weser, on two wheels through the many parks, or by tram through the city centre. People from different cities and countries tell us why they fell in love with Bremen and have made their lives here.
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.
The colours of the local football team are not the only thing that's green about Bremen, as you'll see when you take a stroll around its parks and open spaces. A look at the statistics shows that Bremen is not only Germany's tenth-largest city, it is also its third-greenest, offering plenty of space to enjoy nature.
The high standard of logistical expertise in the state of Bremen functioned as a key to open doors, making this a successful year for Bremen. 2016’s successes were marked by automobiles and steel, welcoming ambitious international companies.
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 ...
Hard facts take top priority when it comes to the choice of location for international or domestic businesses. But the faster we feel comfortable outside the workplace in the everyday routines and culture of a foreign country, the sooner we feel at home. In addition to trade, science – and of course its port, Bremen has plenty to offer when it comes to quality of life.
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.
Sometimes you have to learn from other people's mistakes and trust your instincts. That is what Muhammad-Farhan Aslam believed when he took over his father's business. Not only did he change the business model, but he also shelved his own plans to move to England. Instead he stayed in Bremen. And it turned out to be one of many good decisions that he made.
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.
David Zhou came to Bremen three years ago with the aim of conquering the market – and a new continent – with LEDs. He started his business selling LED lighting and electronics at the World Trade Centre at Bremen Airport and has gradually built it up over the past few years.