Q: What does Frankfurt (Oder) have to offer businesses?
A: Due to Frankfurt (Oder)’s geographical position, our city is a unique place for international investors and entrepreneurs. Investors can benefit from a good logistical access to eastern and western European markets as well as a multilingual workforce. To get to the city centre of Berlin takes only one hour by car or local trains.
We are close to Poland, which makes Frankfurt (Oder) international and more dynamic than other German cities with the same population. [Then there is] the European University of Viadrina, which is located in our city [and keeps the population youthful].
We have also developed a strong industrial and R&D base, particularly in the fields of microelectronics, solar power and semiconductors. Thanks to our research institute IHP, researchers and students from all over the world create an atmosphere that helps us to attract foreign companies and to support the start-up scene.
Frankfurt (Oder) has a lot to offer and is willing to support all companies with an interest in emerging new markets [that are] looking for an attractive location for their businesses in manufacturing, logistics or services. We have our own one-stop shop for investors, the Investor Center Ostbrandenburg [ICOB], which supports new companies and investors in every [way possible in] establishing a new business in the region.
Finally, we are still able to offer Germany’s maximum possible incentive rates. In co-operation with the Federal State of Brandenburg and the EU new companies investing in Frankfurt (Oder) can get a cashback incentive of up to 40% of their investment costs. The state of Brandenburg can support investors and companies located here with low-interest loans, subsidies, financing, liability release, securities and partnerships.
Q: In what sectors are you hoping to attract FDI?
A: Frankfurt (Oder) has a long tradition in microelectronics and a lot of experienced [and international] people here, such as at the IHP research institute. The people here are used to industry and very motivated to work in the field of manufacturing. Over the past few years we have noticed a change of industry focus in our region. Coming from a very successful photovoltaic production location, companies with a focus on new products, such as composite materials or bioplastics, are growing in the region.
Due to our geographical position at the main route between eastern and western Europe and our terminal for combined transport, there is a lot of potential for companies in the field of logistics and e-commerce/fulfilment. We know what companies need, so we are also currently attracting project developers that will erect a logistics and industry-focused real estate park close to the motorway A12 to house new companies. Because of fast price increases and less real estate availability in other regions, we are very optimistic about that strategy.
Q: What are your biggest challenges in attracting FDI to Frankfurt (Oder)?
A: We sometimes hear from foreign companies that German regulations can be a challenge for them as investors, which is why we have the ICOB. This explains a lot of formal aspects to entrepreneurs and guides them through all necessary approval procedures as a strong regional partner – it’s free of charge for new companies.