Leipzig is Germany’s fastest-growing city, with a young, creative community, a huge student population, a thriving digital and tech industry and an age-old tradition of commerce and industry – as well as an excellent standing in the energy, environment and life sciences sectors. Rents are affordable, there is a fantastic quality of life and a real community spirit. What’s more, Leipzig is just a two-hour drive south from Berlin. So, if you’re seeking to expand your business, take a look at why this winning city should be firmly on your radar.
A sense of space
Digital natives are drawn to Leipzig by its affordable rents and former factories reimagined as collaborative creative spaces. With a population that is predicted to rise by 16 per cent in the next 15 years, it’s been called the ‘New Berlin’ and earned itself the nickname ‘Hypezig’. No wonder it’s been described as Germany’s most liveable city and is popular with students – with around 40,000 spread throughout its various universities (Angela Merkel, Goethe and Nietzsche are all illustrious graduates of the University of Leipzig). Leipzig is also one of the greenest cities in Germany, with an array of pretty parks and green spaces to run, cycle, picnic and hang out in. The city’s old industrial canals and nearby lakes mean residents and visitors can canoe, wild swim and even surf.
A digital mindset
The tech and digital industry is Leipzig’s fastest-growing sector. More than 1,200 companies (with around 14,000 employees) have offices or working spaces in the city and nearly 35 per cent of offices house startups, scale-ups and large ICT companies. Big hitters such as Amazon, Siemens, Arvato Systems, BMW and BASF all have operations based here. When the German government started a digital hub initiative in 2016, which involved setting up hubs in cities throughout the country, naturally Leipzig – along with Dresden – was named as one of twin hubs for smart systems, IoT and energy. Then in late 2019, Germany’s agency for breakthrough innovation (SPRIN-D) moved to the city, cementing Leipzig as the place for transformation and growth when it comes to business.
A centre for trade
Leipzig is no new kid on the block – it’s always been a major player when it comes to international trade routes and supply chains. It saw reindustrialisation in the late 18th century and has a 1,000-year trading history. With more than 83 million residents in Germany and a potential 150 million consumers in the nine countries that border it, it’s at the hub of Central Europe and a staggering amount of potential business. Its attractive transport links include connections to three major autobahns and a direct link to the Deutsche Bahn rail network. Then there’s Leipzig/Halle (LEJ) Airport, Europe’s third busiest cargo hub (a no-brainer for companies with global supply chains), which offers more than 400 weekly flights that connect to more than 60 destinations internationally.
An innovative research hub
For the past 20 years, Leipzig’s phenomenal group of life science organisations – including the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the German Biomass Research Centre – has been working towards becoming a world leader in applied medical research and innovations in healthcare, with the aim of introducing new therapies, products and solutions into the EU’s healthcare systems. As healthcare continues to transform digitally, innovators in the fields of medtech and healthtech should consider branching out here. For firms in the biopharma, biotechnology, medical devices or eHealth sector, the city fosters an excellent base for setting up research and development, business, manufacturing or sales and distribution outlets. Continuing the groundbreaking work, Leipzig is a leading light for companies involved in the development of regenerative therapies in Europe.
So how can Invest Region Leipzig (IRL) help? This economic development organisation supports companies considering expanding their business and/or R&D operations into Leipzig by helping them shape a bespoke location strategy. Funded by the Leipzig Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Northern Saxony and Leipzig’s local authorities, IRL provides essential decision-making data on market opportunities, competitors and suppliers, the workforce and a pool of potential candidates. It works alongside property partners to help business clients find the right office, industrial or logistics base at the right cost. And IRL’s recruitment team can streamline the staffing process through its immense network of recruiters, university career and job centre partners. What’s more, all IRL services are confidential and free of charge. So what are you waiting for?