Start-ups Welcome


Students and researchers at Saxony’s universities are actively supported in the implementation of innovative business ideas. The highest subsidy rate per student, the largest number of competitions for business founders as well as the highest approval rate when it comes to applications for subsidies all assure that Saxony has a particularly high number of successful spin-offs. And a top position in a nationwide comparison of conditions for business founders. 

Bild einer Uhr der Lange Uhren GmbH, Glashütte

Bild einer Uhr der Lange Uhren GmbH, Glashütte

Founder History with a Long Tradition

The Saxons are famous for their cleverness and business acumen. Self-employment and business start-ups have a long tradition here.

For example, master watchmaker Ferdinand Adolph Lange from Dresden came to Glashütte in 1845, armed with a loan from Saxony’s State Government and the obligation to create new jobs in what used to be the poorest “hamlet” in all of Saxony. Today, “Glashütte/Sa.” is not only the name of a town – but also a quality seal for the masterpieces which are created by ten renowned watch manufacturers and continue to require considerable craftsmanship even today.

In Chemnitz, Richard Hartmann founded a factory for the production of spinning machines back in the 1830s. They were followed by steam engines, and in 1848, he introduced his first steam locomotive. Saxony’s State Government supported the founder. Hartmann was a very successful entrepreneur; the locomotives made in Chemnitz were in great demand around the globe. In 1870, for example, 2,700 employees were on the payroll of Hartmann’s “Sächsische Maschinenfabrik” machine factory.

In 1910, August Horch founded the Audi Automobilwerke GmbH corporation in Zwickau; and within the same year, the company already delivered its first car. Headquartered in Ingolstadt, the Audi AG corporation is part of the Volkswagen AG Group today which, in turn, employs about 13,000 people at three locations in Saxony. 

Ideal Locational Conditions for Business Founders


Due to the close cooperation of high tech enterprises with a large number of universities and research institutions, Saxony provides ideal starting conditions for business founders. Furthermore, no other German federal state supports researchers who want to become young entrepreneurs with so much commitment as Saxony does. This was ascertained by the Stifterverband, a donors' association for the promotion of sciences and humanities in Germany, in its Ländercheck, a comparison of Germany’s federal states on the support and promotion of business founders. – The result is quite impressive: The highest subsidy rate per student, the highest number of competitions for business start ups and ideas as well as the highest approval rate for funding applications lead to numerous successful spin offs in Saxony.



To Saxony's Webportal for Business Founders


The support of business start ups at Saxony’s universities is very practice-oriented. For example, there are a lot of competitions for business start ups and ideas. Already for almost 20 years now, one such successful example has been futureSAX's "Saxon Founder Award".

Superb counseling services provided by diverse founder networks help scientists and young entrepreneurs start into business – that’s why Saxony has the highest number of business ideas that end up in the founding of new companies.

Such start up initiatives as SAXEED in Chemnitz, Freiberg, Mittweida, and Zwickau, dresden | exists, or the Self Management Initiative SMILE in Leipzig are all subsidized by the Federal State of Saxony. These programs assist and promote students and junior researchers in transferring their scientific findings into innovations and new jobs.

The HighTech Startbahn Network supports spin offs from Saxony and Central Germany of the high tech sector, above all, the sectors ICT, micro and nano technologies, vehicle and machine construction as well as energy, environmental, and medical technology primarily during the post founding phase – which is often the most difficult phase. That’s why the start up experts bring together young start ups with industry, capital, and personalities and actively seek cooperations with national and international transfer partners.

Technology transfer and business start ups are also in the focus of research and instruction at the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. Germany’s oldest university focusing on business administration is one of the leading business schools in Europe today. In the Gründerradar, a start up survey conducted under the auspices of the Stifterverband, a donors' association for the promotion of sciences and humanities in Germany, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs (BMWi), the HHL ranked first place as Germany’s best “small-sized” founder academy in both 2013 and 2014. During the past 17 years, HHL graduates have founded more than 150 start ups and created over 2,500 new jobs, more than 1,000 of which are located in Leipzig.



Successful Incubators for Start-Ups

The fact that business and science work so closely together makes a vital contribution to successful business start ups is aptly demonstrated by the innovation incubators BIO CITY LEIPZIG and BioInnovationCenter Dresden. Within the immediate vicinity of research institutes and university hospitals, numerous start ups have set up their business in Germany’s most modern centers for biotechnology and biomedicine. Here, they strive to turn their pioneering spirit and entrepreneurship into economic prosperity while working in individual lab and office facilities located right next to renowned research institutions.

Ideal prerequisites for dynamic start ups in the microsystems technology sector are provided by the Smart Systems Campus Chemnitz. – A technology park encompassing almost 4.5 hectares, located right next to Chemnitz University of Technology as well as to the Fraunhofer Institutes for Electronic Nano Systems (ENAS) and for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (IWU). It provides start ups with easy access to research institutes and globally active companies which are among the market leaders of their respective branches.

In order to attract even more business founders to Saxony, the university has launched the SpinLab Leipzig together with the Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei, a former industrial property which used to be a cotton spinning mill and now houses primarily creative minds. Interdisciplinary teams can develop business ideas and concepts further, be coached by experts, and establish contacts to investors in the HHL Accelerator. Towards this end, they can use the rooms and technical infrastructure free of charge for six months. The first teams who have commenced with their work in the incubator in February come from Munich, Rostock, Leipzig, and even from Israel. With its SpinLab, the HHL seeks to make the metropolitan region of Leipzig even more attractive for start ups.

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