Setting up your own business is never easy, but the city of Bremen offers the perfect environment for budding entrepreneurs wanting to start in Germany. A unique start-up scene has taken root in the region that will help you access the expertise, contacts and funding that you'll need to succeed. So what are you waiting for?
A vibrant start-up scene has developed in Bremen and Bremerhaven, which together make up Germany's smallest federal state. It's almost like a family here – public-sector bodies, banks and businesses are all pulling together in the same direction. Which makes starting up a business in the two cities that much easier.
A huge portion of newly set-up start-ups began their entrepreneurial journey at the:
The Starthaus is the first port of call for anyone looking to set up their own business in Bremen or Bremerhaven. The team of consultants there provide individual advice and support to entrepreneurs throughout their start-up journey right up to the initial expansion phase. As well as advising on first steps, they will check your business plan, help you build your network and tell you how to access funding. Best of all – their services are free of charge.
Any start-up or entrepreneur will need business partners and a network of contacts to help them realise their idea. At Starthaus Bremen and Starthaus Bremerhaven, they'll be able to access
- public-sector partners (e.g. the business support agencies for Bremen and Bremerhaven, the chamber of skilled trades, the Chamber of Commerce, the Bridge graduate programme, and a women in business network),
- private-sector partners (banks, accelerators and other businesses), and investors (high-tech start-up funds, private investors)
- and partners from academia (universities in Bremen/Bremerhaven, research institutes).
The close links between these organisations are one reason why Bremen is such an attractive location for start-ups.
The Starthaus offices in Bremen and Bremerhaven can help with all matters related to financing for start-ups. They'll tell you how to access a range of financing options, including:
Start-ups need information and advice and so that is what the Starthaus has put at the core of its services. Free courses are regularly offered on practical subjects such as business planning, tax, first steps and finding inspiration for the perfect business model.
Bremen is a dynamic centre of science and learning. Five universities and the 500 companies and 12,000 employees at Bremen Technology Park mean there is no shortage of young talent and fresh ideas. The Bridge programme, which is supported by the University of Bremen, the universities of applied sciences in Bremen and Bremerhaven, and Bremen's development bank, was established to help graduates start up their own business.
Anyone setting up their own business in Germany should take a look at the region's technology centres and start-up centres, where entrepreneurs can take advantage of start-of-the-art facilities as they seek to refine their products. The BITZ – Bremen Innovation and Technology Centre at the Technology Park is a prime example. Located by one of Germany's finest universities – the University of Bremen – it is home to no fewer than 80 tech companies. They benefit from the proximity to the university, the wide range of services on offer and the many events organised specifically for start-ups.
At Bremen's World Trade Center, start-ups will find premises that make their first steps into business as straightforward as possible. Bremen and Bremerhaven also have a number of coworking spaces that offer a relaxed atmosphere and a chance to socialise and network, often well into the evening. If you're having difficulty deciding where to locate yourself, you can turn to the Unternehmensservice Bremen business support agency. There's no question they can't help with – and they'll be able to answer you in English, Turkish or Russian.
The Bremen region in northern Germany is home to a wide range of private and corporate investors who can provide young entrepreneurs not only with financial support but also business expertise and contacts.
Team Neusta, for example, which is Germany's biggest internet agency, provides IT start-ups with funding, expertise and workspaces at the Neusta Campus. Start-ups working on all kinds of projects in the energy, automotive and 'smart city' sectors can be found at the Kraftwerk City Accelerator run by energy company SWB and Mercedes-Benz. Funding for Bremen's aerospace cluster is provided by the European Space Agency's business incubation centre (ESA BIC).
Corporate start-ups such as those sponsored by the trading company Melchers are a feature of Bremen's new business scene. Other investors in the city work within the framework of established networks such as the Business Angels, where they act as mentors or venture capitalists.
Start-up festivals and events are a regular feature in Bremen - if there is no pandemic around. You can also attend meet-ups designed specially for people setting up their own business. A landmark is the MOIN Start-up Camp, which is now known nationwide and once a year invites thousands of visitors to workshops, top-class lectures and a start-up fair on a weekend. In the same way, the Bremen & Bremerhaven Start-up Week attracts a lot of attention every year, where up to 50 events take place in November each year to provide founders with knowledge and contacts.
For many international entrepreneurs, visiting a Bremeninvest stand at an international trade fair marked the beginning of their journey to Bremen. We offers support for new businesses in a range of languages, from your first idea to your own office. There is even a start-up community in Bremen dedicated to the 'new space' movement. Whether from aerospace or any other sector, young entrepreneurs are always welcome to join international delegations – a fantastic opportunity for making new contacts.
And with the Northern Germany Innovation Office, there is a dedicated line from Bremen to the US high-tech valley, from which start-ups also benefit: For example, by travelling with delegations or establishing relationships with start-ups in the Valley from here.
Many books and articles can be written about why it is worth living in Bremen. But shortly: Bremen is the greenest city in Germany. It is simply worth living in, not too big or overcrowded (the founders themselves say so!), has short distances, good international connections. Here, everyone has the chance to be seen - by investors and customers alike. As one of the largest industrial locations in Germany, potential buyers for B2B start-ups are located here in sectors such as the automotive and food industry, maritime business and logistics, aerospace industry, renewable energies and digital technologies, especially the AI industry.
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