Whether your company is a quickly-growing startup or a well-established multinational, European expansion is probably on your horizon. Why? One reason is that Europe, when taken as a whole, is the second largest economy in the world. The European Union accounts for more than 500 million people, and there are another 200 million in other European countries, making Europe as a whole a huge market to tap into for businesses in nearly every type of industry.
Yet choosing a country to be home to a European sales branch office can be tricky. There are many factors to weigh, such as operating costs, labor considerations, and international access to other countries and markets. Luckily, when looking across all the options available, there is one country that stands out as a clear leader: Germany. Let’s take a closer look at why Germany is the best choice for a European headquarters.
Germany not only boasts the largest economy in Europe, weighing in at $3.9 trillion USD, but it’s also one of the strongest, most diverse, and most dynamic economies on the continent and in the world. Even while many of European economies stumbled and faltered during the Global Recession, Germany’s economy managed to continue growth. Today, it has one of Europe’s lowest unemployment rates at 3.7%. On a macro level, the country's robust economy is ideal for rapidly expanding businesses.
The Business Climate
Out of all the European countries, Germany is often ranked first in entrepreneurship. This is due to the countries extensively developed infrastructure system, easy access to capital, a well-developed legal framework for starting and conducting business, and innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. Germany has become a hotbed of startup activity, seeing companies in Germany win more than $5.2 billion USD in investment capital in 2017. Some notable startups from Germany include Soundcloud and Delivery Hero (parent company of several on-demand food delivery services), but also top tech companies like SAP and Amazon have headquarters or major business centers there.
The International Connections
Germany enjoys the advantage of being in the middle of Europe, making it a common crossroads between Western and Easter parts of the continent. As a result, Germany has two of the top international airports in Europe—Frankfurt and Munich—which saw more than 100 million passengers in 2016. As such, it’s easy to get from Germany to many other parts of the Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Like anywhere, it’s really the people that make a place great. And for business, Germany couldn’t be better. Germany boasts one of the most educated and skilled workforces in Europe. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), approximately 86% of Germans aged 25 – 64 have obtained an upper secondary qualification or higher, and the country has one of the highest graduation rates at 95 percent. As such, Germany also has one of the highest percentages of citizens who speak fluent English, making international business easier and more fluid.
If your company is looking for a European country to put down roots, Germany should be at the top of your list to investigate.