Berlin, the Silicon Valley of Europe [Part I]
Berlin, the hub spot for start-ups

Berlin, the European headquarters for start-ups?

When people think of Berlin they probably associate the city with the division between West and East, followed by the fall of the Wall in 1989. Today, the unified capital of Germany is a city of freedom and tolerance and has become a popular tourist destination, due to its authentic history. 

But what else does Berlin have, that other cities don't; and why are there so many people rushing from abroad to come here?

Why is Berlin the place to start-up“?  

Berlin was once divided and businesses were also separated between East and West. In the last 15 years,many exiled artists in fashion, music and arts from all over the world got attracted to Berlinbecause of its rich culture and nightlife party scene, and they helped to rebuild the city to the point that in 2003 the Berlin's Mayor Klaus Wowereit described the city as "Berlin ist arm, aber sexy" (translation: Berlin is poor, but sexy).

Berlin is Germany’s capital city but paradoxically, Munich has the strongest economy in the country, hosting large corporate headquarters, followed by Hamburg, which is known for its media industry and for its port.Berlin is not specialized in any particular industry, but over the past five years it has increasingly attracted web entrepreneurs and people with technical profiles such as software computer programmers, who have created about 2.500 small high-tech businesses. Therefore, Berlin can probably be considered as the German capital city of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Berlin has become one of the most attractive places in Europe for hipsters and expats with creative minds and is the hotspot for developing an international online business. Known for its vibrant alternative art and culture, Germany’s largest metropolis is constantly reinventing itself with new ideas, creativity, inspiration and innovation, which attracts many talented people in digital field around the world to live the “Berliner dream” in the Internet era. In other words, Berlin is a great place for start-ups because it’s all about the people and the networks.

Berlin, the European capital for start-ups?

In the early 1980's, San Francisco was the very first city to develop the world's largest technology hub. Famous for its size and reputation, the “Silicon Valley in the USA" or “California's Silicon Valley” made a global impact, with its success stories of IT companies and start-ups.

In Europe, London is the first city to be nicknamed “The Silicon Roundabout”, but the German capital city is undergoing a fast digital boom.Unlike London, Berlin still offers inexpensive rents on office spaces, where enthusiastic web & technology entrepreneurs can establish their companies. The city also offers an affordable lifestyle to young international people, and a relaxed atmosphere where the money doesn‘t have such a strong power on peopleSince Microsoft, PayPal and eBay have set up an office here, Berlin has been labelled as the “European Silicon Valley“, and has greatly inspired people from other European cities to build lively tech hubs of their own, such as in Paris, Dublin, Barcelona, Sofia and Helsinki.

To be or not be a « Digital Berliner » ?

More and more start-ups are establishing in the German capital and offering jobs. If you have ambition and a great idea, you can also quickly launch your business in Berlin.

How to get started? 

The e-book "The Berlin Startup Guide“ launched in August 2014 could be the starting point. Nevertheless, although Berlin sees an increasing number of high-tech start-ups developing , and has a very attractive lifestyle for digital-minded people, it has some disadvantages, which I will describe in the second part of this article. 

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Edited by Catalina Ghelan