30. October 2013–
The Berlin government may not be great at building airports or getting itself out of debt, but it's definitely going all out to show an interest in the city's burgeoning startup scene. Berlin's Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Research has just released a report on the digital economy – revealing that it makes €8.9bn in revenue, or just over five per cent of the city's total. It also found there were 500 startups in the city in 2012.
The Senate report focuses on the usual suspects – the city's creative culture, international population and low cost of living. It also notes that Berlin is now attracting more venture capital: "In the first six months of 2013 alone, more than €200m in venture capital was invested in IT and internet startups in the city."
Additionally, the document outlines how the government is promoting startups through its institution Investionsbank Berlin, which has so far invested €116m in creative and tech companies and in collaboration with partners has provided €735m.
Berlin's love of coworking is also flourishing. According to the report, the city boasts the world's third highest number of coworking spaces per capita. The growing trend of hosting "makers labs" – where entrepreneurs can try out professional tools and high-tech machines without having to cough up to buy them – was also touched on.
The Senate report also pointed out it has taken action to try and help internationals deal with the bureaucracy in Berlin with the formation of startup network Gründungsnetzwerk Berlin, which launched an information portal titled Gruenden in Berlin that offers advice in seven languages (though we found the majority of content is still very German).
The report comes just a couple of weeks after consulting company McKinsey released its own findings on ways Berlin could promote the digital economy, one of which included turning Tempelhof airport into a tech hub. The city's Mayor, Klaus Wowereit, also recently hosted a roundtable with entrepreneurs and investors to brainstorm ways to improve and facilitate Berlin's digital economy.
For all the report's statistics, check out the image below: