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Austria Start-up Offensive 2014

Start-ups comprise an important success factor for Austria as a business location, because they open up new markets and growth opportunities. Young companies create new jobs, stimulate the economy and generally make it more resistant to crises. It is also obvious that company founders are confronted with numerous challenges and have to be supported as effectively as possible. This especially applies to ensuring financing possibilities.  In particular, young companies which show disproportionately high growth often face the problem of how to raise the required funds to put their ideas into practice.  

The Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth supports entrepreneurs and business people on all levels in order to provide added impetus to growth and investments. For the first time, the Start-up Offensive 2014 is making a total of EUR 100 million available to company founders via aws, the federal development and financing bank. In this way young companies will receive support in all areas, from the initial idea to establishing the company and market launches to their international expansion.


Turbo-charging innovation for the economy

“In terms of income, Austria is in the top ranks of Europe. We have to maintain this position, which can only be ensured on the basis of innovation”, says Christian Keuschnigg of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), explaining in a publication issued by austria wirtschaftsservice (aws) why there is no alternative to more innovations. “Start-ups put radical innovations into practice because innovations have a much bigger chance of being implemented at such companies. Start-ups have a dynamic effect”, Keuschnigg adds. “Moreover, there is a positive impact on employment when processes are designed to be more innovative”, according to Karl Aigner of the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO). The WIFO study “Innovation and Employment” carried out in the year 2013 confirms that the figures speak for themselves. Companies which successfully launch new or improved products boast higher annual employment growth in the following two years than non-innovators.


ABA supports the start-up Piano Media

Piano Media is a provider of paid content software solutions to monetarize digital contents, and was supported by ABA-Invest in Austria in establishing the company in Austria. The Slovakian company Piano Media intends to expand its business operations in the DACH region of Europe, and offer its German-speaking customers better service from its Vienna hub. In addition, the headquarters of the company were relocated from Bratislava to Vienna.

The partners of the new company fulfilled a key pre-requisite in founding a company. The start-up fund aws Gründerfonds and 3TS Capital Partners are investing in Piano Media GmbH. “The investment of aws Gründerfonds and 3TS Capital Partners enables us to expand our business activities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland”, says Peter Richards, Head of International Operations at Piano Media. ”

More than 100 online media such as Newsweek (USA), Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (Germany), DC Thomson (UK) make use of Piano Media solutions. “In Europe we see tremendous growth opportunities in the area of paid content. Pianio Media is uniquely positioned to benefit from this”, says Christoph Haimberger, Director at 3TS Capital Partners, in justifying the investment. Ralf Kunzmann, Managing Director of aws Gründerfonds, adds: “aws Gründerfonds and 3TS Capital Partners form a strong consortium with national and international expertise. We look forward to working with 3TS Capital Partners and Piano Media“.


Vienna stands out with its Pioneers Festival

Pioneer Festival

Platform for young companies. Photo: Pioneers Festival

The annual Pioneers Festival, one of the world’s largest technology and entrepreneur events featuring 2,500 participants, will once again take place in the Hofburg Imperial Palace from October 29-30, 2014.

More than 600 startups and 250 investors, high level executives of the most important technology companies and international media gather every year to discuss and showcase the latest trends in future technologies and innovations, grow their networks or find funding to finance growth and groundbreaking ideas.

“It was our goal right from the beginning to offer young and innovative companies a platform, which helps them to find the support and funding they need,” says Andreas Tschas, co-founder of The event is enhanced by a startup competition, the Pioneers Challenge and more than 80 international speakers who appear on three stages to share their knowledge and experiences with the public. Investors and selected start-ups can also exchange views in a calm atmosphere on October 28, 2014, when Investors Day is held.  ABA-Invest in Austria is one of the networking partners of the festival, as in the previous year.



Numerous start-up funding programs

Aws: Funding tailored to the specific needs of young innovators

austria wirtschaftsservice attaches great importance to start-ups. Its financing instruments contribute to closing the gaps in the financing offering for young companies. Not only capital but also professional support is of immense importance in order to establish a sustainably successful framework for start-ups. One strength of aws is that it offers various customized support measures from a single source.

>> The aws Start-up Center

The Start-up Center encompasses training measures, activities designed to create an aws start-up community, an ongoing dialogue with company founders, content consulting and much more. For example, special attention is also paid to holding a series of events targeting young companies. aws brings together start-ups and potential investors.

In addition, aws start-ups are involved in both national and international events such as the Pioneers Festival, Business Angel Day, EU workshops and international conferences. The consulting and training activities of aws in the fields of entrepreneurial spirit, technology exploitation and founding technology companies are bundled in the Start-up Center.

Further information
aws-Beratungsteam für Start-ups (aws – Consulting Team for Start-ups)
Tel. +43 1 501 75 – 100


>> FFG Start-up Funding

The Start-up Funding of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) targets innovative and technology-oriented companies which are not more than six years old, have annual revenues below EUR 50 million and a balance sheet total less than EUR 43 million. The firms entitled to funding may not employ a staff of more than 250 people, and a large company may not own a stake exceeding 25 percent.

The measures developed to support young companies range from project financing of up to 70 percent, loan repayment first due after five years along with the funding of feasibility studies.

Further information

>> Entrepreneurs are provided with helpful support in different areas:

Research, development and innovation projects, cooperation, networks and technology transfer
ZIT – Technology Agency of the City of Vienna

Innovations from and for creative industries
Departure – The creative agency of the city of Vienna

Corporate and start-up consulting services
Austrian Federal Economic Chamber – Start-up Service

WIFI – Austrian Economic Promotion Institute


Further education, human resources
WAFF – Vienna Employment Promotion Fund

Equity capital
WKBG – Wiener Kreditbürgschafts- und Beteiligungsbank AG (provides credit guarantees and equity capital))

>> Consulting for foreign companies

ABA-Invest in Austria, a member of the European American Chamber of Commerce

Experienced investment consultants personally serve you and provide all the necessary contacts required in Austria. Contact us when you start to consider expanding so that we can provide you with optimal support.

  •  ABA-Invest in Austria offers customized information on Austria as a busi- ness location – sectors, technologies and markets, political and economic conditions.
  • We are happy to advise you on important issues relating to site selection such as labor and tax regulations, incentives or real estate prices.
  • Employees of ABA-Invest in Austria assist and support you in handling formalities such as applying for public funding or operating licenses – also in cooperation with the regional investment promotion agencies in the federal provinces.
  • ABA-Invest in Austria also provides extensive services to support expansion investments after project completion.