Many Swedish entrepreneurs are looking into moving their company to a different country or opening a new branch of their company abroad. An international presence uplifts a company’s image as well as its revenue. Austria, and specifically the Vienna Region, is an excellent destination for these endeavors. Swedish companies in Austria can benefit from a variety of advantages which we will outline below.
Strong business relations
Economic relations between Sweden and Austria are intensifying – imports and exports are increasing in both directions. The exchange of goods and services between Austria and Sweden reflects healthy economic relations between two highly developed industrialized countries. The range of products is broad so that declines in individual sectors can generally be offset by new growth areas. After the exceptional year of 2020, 2021 saw a strong boost on both sides: Exports from Austria to Sweden increased by 16.4% to EUR 1,765 million in 2021. Exports from Sweden to Austria increased by 19.1% to EUR 1,617 million.
Austria is a popular tourist destination for Swedes. In 2016, there were 250,000 arrivals and 930,000 overnight stays by Swedish vacationers in Austria. Around 60% of all overnight stays are in the winter season. In winter, Austria is even the first choice for Swedes when it comes to winter sports destinations abroad.
There are many parallels between the two countries. With its nine million inhabitants, Austria has a comparable population to Sweden. There are many shared aspects like values, social welfare, neutralist policy, consumer behavior, population structure, and the big number of small and medium-sized businesses that play an important role in innovation. All these similarities create a favorable setting for Scandinavian companies to smoothly enter the market.
The quality of life in the Vienna Region is very high. Personal safety, low crime rates, excellent health care, clean air and water, and a great schooling system await expats. Austria is about 5 times smaller than Sweden. Sights, attractions, and different landscapes (mountains, lakes, plains, hot springs, etc.) are much less sprawled out. The same goes for businesses – transport routes between production sites, distribution centers, and points of sale are less long.
Sweden’s sales tax is 5% higher than that of Austria (25 vs. 20%). Lower sales taxes decrease the price of goods, thus making it easier for businesses to profit from selling products. Austria´s commodity exports in relation to the gross domestic product are 39,3 %. That is a higher number than that of Sweden and Finland. Income tax is 20 to 55% in Austria and 29 to 55,5% in Sweden. In Austria, lower incomes are taxed less heavily than in Sweden. That increases the purchasing power of low-income households. In addition to that, there is an older target group with a lot of purchasing power. The “best agers” are a bigger target group and easier to reach in Austria than in some northern European countries.
Interesting aspects for Swedish companies in Austria are the market stability, the high technological maturity, and the function as a springboard for the surrounding markets.
Situated in the very heart of Europe, the location of the Vienna Region is undeniably more advantageous than that of Northern Europe. The Vienna Region is comprised of Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland. It provides perfect access to the growing markets in Central and Eastern Europe. An extensive motorway network radiates in all directions. Wien-Schwechat, the international airport, is served by more than 30 airlines. There are major railway terminals for regional and international rail travel. Freight transport down the Danube to the Balkan states, and the Black Sea, and via the Rhine-Main Danube Canal to northwestern Europe, has grown in importance. The Vienna Region is a central location, much more interconnected than northern Europe. It is a great place for export in all directions – and it is also a location that can be reached easily.
Grants and subsidies
Financing is one of the most important issues when creating a new company. Austria offers an extensive system of public funding and early-stage investment. In addition, there are many private investors. Forbes Magazine has even named the Vienna Region the best place to start a business. The spirit of entrepreneurship is strong in the Vienna Region – new businesses and ideas are encouraged and subsidized. There are many business grants, jump-start programs, and accelerators entrepreneurs can participate in.
The VIENNA REGION Business Agencies are the first point of contact for foreign companies wishing to establish themselves in the Vienna Region.
If you’re looking for business premises, production sites, laboratories, and office space in Vienna, the Vienna Business agency will offer you all the information you need. There is help regarding funding for companies from any industry and of any size. The website offers a detailed overview of investment funds and investor networks based in Vienna. The list of business grants is quite long and each of them has a different thematic focus.
Ecoplus, the Business Agency of Lower Austria, is a reliable partner of entrepreneurs as well as investors and initiators of regional and international projects. The agency acts as an essential interface between business, politics, and science. Business grants include regional funding, investments by municipalities, companies, associations and initiatives as well as by individuals. Burgenland’s Business Agency offers financial support and 1-to-1 coaching as well as various workshops to entrepreneurs. The program includes consulting, expert advice, and office infrastructure. Specialized programs accompany start-ups and companies that relocate to Burgenland along their entire settlement and set-up process. The agency is your reliable partner for all business endeavors in Burgenland. You can find an overview of all current subsidies and a step-by-step guide to the funding process on their website.
Relocation made easy
In 2016, about 100 Swedish companies were active in Austria with a total volume of direct investments of 732 million euros. More and more companies are discovering the many advantages of the Vienna Region for their business endeavors. There are many helpful agencies, government programs, and business networks that make setting up shop in the Vienna Region a lot easier.
If you are looking for a new location for your company or a new production facility, you should definitely consider the Vienna Region. Situated in the very heart of Europe, it offers all the key factors for success. Swedish companies in Austria enjoy many benefits and advantages – especially in the Vienna Region.
Let me give you five reasons why you should set up your headquarters in the Vienna Region:
- it is part of the 4th richest country of the European Union
- a high quality of life at affordable prices
- Excellent, highly-developed infrastructure
- highly qualified workforce
- outstanding spending capacity of customers
- home to many international companies, universities as well as research facilities
- direct access to South East and Eastern Europe
- high level of personal security, political stability and legal certainty
- an international as well as cosmopolitan region due to a population with migration background
What a founder-friendly location needs is a focus on the global market. Austria’s location in particular makes it an ideal hub for the international start-up scene in Central and Eastern Europe.
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