In the Loop
The year 2011 was without a doubt one of the most successful years in the development of Magdeburg as a business location.
Interview with Rainer Nitsche, Vice-mayor and head of department for business development, tourism and regional co-operation of the State Capital Magdeburg
Germany’s economy is still Europe’s most powerful, but away from the headlines and commentary, what is the mood on the frontline of inward investment in places like Magdeburg? Is it optimistic?
Definitely yes! The year 2011 was without a doubt one of the most successful years in the development of Magdeburg as a business location. Companies from the field of logistics in particular continued to recognise the quality of the business location Magdeburg, resulting in an extremely intensive demand for sites in the city. With the lighting company Eglo Leuchten GmbH and the food trading company Gunz Warenhandelsunternehmen GmbH, we have successfully convinced two enterprises to choose Magdeburg as the location for the establishment of their logistics centres for northern and eastern Germany. We have also received a multitude of active requests for new sites in Magdeburg from companies that have already moved to or settled in our business location. Thanks to the strong position of Magdeburg companies in the field of energy production from regenerative sources such as wind energy, the decision made by the German Federal Government to use regenerative energy to increasingly secure the energy supply in German has further boosted this distinctive sector in Magdeburg. All in all, 2011 was an extremely pleasing year for the economic development of the city.
What is the outlook in your region in terms of investment in the coming quarters and how does it reflect on developments during the previous 12 months?
The demand in the first few weeks of 2012 was not as high as it was in 2011. In my opinion, however, it is only natural that such a consolidation should take place at a high level after a period of extremely high business demand for new sites and locations. The way I see it, this is more a sign of healthy growth than of serious economic difficulties. Nevertheless, the projects that are currently being implemented or are rapidly approaching the implementation stage have ensured that 2012 will also be a successful year for the economic development of the city.
What incentives are there to attract new investors into the Magdeburg region?
The city of Magdeburg and the German Land of Saxon-Anhalt are making several efforts to develop the city’s profile and draw attention to Magdeburg as an attractive business location for international investments. Alongside an extensive range of funding options for investments such as loans, guarantees and grants, the city of Magdeburg also offers optimal logistics sites at competitive prices. The city’s economic development also supports companies relocating to or starting up in Magdeburg in the staff recruitment process. Where customers from outside of Germany are concerned, Magdeburg offers special support provided by linguistically talented staff from its International Business Promotion Office. Alongside their excellent English skills, the staff of the International Office boast knowledge of more exotic languages such as Chinese and use their talent to help international customers to orient themselves on the German market and make it easier for them to deal with the formalities involved in relocating to Magdeburg, thus avoiding unnecessary red tape.
Germany is a global centre for green energy. What incentives are available for investors in your region wanting to take advantage of opportunities in this sector?
As well as the support opportunities provided for companies relocating to or starting up in Magdeburg in the form of financial aid, staff recruitment support or the availability of affordable sites, the city’s economic development also strives to establish an intensive network between companies in the field of renewable energies. The Gesellschaft für Wirtsschaftsservice mbH (GWM), a public and communal association focusing on the promotion of economic development, is a 100% subsidiary of the city of Magdeburg and works as a contact for companies in this field, helping to arrange cooperations and initiate projects. Thanks to the involvement of GWM mbH, Magdeburg has, for example, been able to successfully claim the title of “Energy-Efficient City” in the competition run by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. As a winner of the competition, the city will now receive 5 million Euros over the next few years for the promotion and development of energy and carbon dioxide saving projects run by companies and scientific institutions in Magdeburg.