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Location and Business Policy

Content of the site

The goal of economic policy is to sustainably improve the quality of life of citizens by securing jobs as well as ensuring income growth and a fair distribution of income with due regard to appropriate social and environmental standards.

Siting of Companies

Austria is a prime destination for foreign investors

With the Austrian Business Agency (ABA-Invest in Austria), the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs boasts an efficient entity to provide professional support to international investors.

Service entity with a global network

ABA, a consulting firm owned by the Republic of Austria, offers a free and comprehensive range of services to assist international investors in setting up operations in Austria. ABA-Invest in Austria provides a wide network of consultants.

Remarkable performance figures

Since its foundation in 1982, ABA-Invest in Austria has attracted a substantial number of foreign operations, totalling 4,177 international businesses sited in Austria with the help of ABA. The programme has thus attracted investment of €9.9bn and created 60,598 new jobs in the Austrian market. In 2018, ABA-Invest in Austria reported yet another record figure: the number of newly sited international businesses had again grown by 3 per cent on 2017. In sum, 355 foreign companies set up new operations in Austria, thus marking a new record high in the 35 years of ABA's history, while the related amount of investment rose by 1.5 per cent to €734.48m versus €723.85m in the year before. The number of newly created jobs rose 8 per cent compared with the previous year (2017: 2,672, 2018: 2,888). This is the first time in the company's history that ABA-Invest in Austria assisted more than 1,000 international businesses clearly interested in siting operations in Austria. If the siting of businesses managed independently by regional agencies is included in this statement of performance, an aggregate total of 469 siting projects was implemented in 2018 with 4,368 jobs created by these projects.

R&D investment: Austria proves to work as a research location

The increase of businesses investing in research & development in Austria is particularly encouraging. In the course of the fifth phase of the marketing campaign "research location Austria", launched on 1 June 2017, 32 international companies made R&D-related investments in Austria with the assistance of ABA, thus creating 404 jobs and investing €124.1m. Germany by far the number one – Switzerland and Italy on the other podium places. With 108 companies, Germany was again the number one investor in 2018, accounting for 30 per cent of all ABA projects. Switzerland (36 new operations) overtook Italy (28), while the UK recorded twice as many newly sited operations (14 in 2018 versus 7 in 2017). Companies from the CEE/SEE countries, too, continue to be interested in moving operations to Austria. In 2018, they accounted for roughly one fourth of all new ABA-managed siting projects (88 companies), with Hungary (17 companies), Slovenia (14 companies), Russia (10 companies) and Slovakia (8 companies) in the lead.

Wide range of services

The services offered by ABA include the provision of general information on Austria as a business location as well as project-specific advice to foreign investors for choosing the right location in Austria and managing the paperwork such as funding applications or facility permits. ABA offers its services in close cooperation with the siting agencies of Austria's federal states (Bundesländer). One of the major and important tasks of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs is to provide competitive and attractive framework conditions in Austria.
Direct information on ABA is available at www.investinaustria.at

Location Austria

The ABA business unit LOCATION AUSTRIA advertises Austria as an attractive location for filming. The all-Austrian Film Commission reaches out to new international filming projects in motion pictures, TV and advertising and offers a broad range of free services for their implementation before and during shooting of the film in Austria. In the past twelve years, Location Austria provided assistance for more than 400 film projects, the most renowned international productions being the 24th James Bond film – 'Spectre', 'Mission Impossible – The Rogue Nation', the remake of the US cult movie 'Point Break', the medieval HBO reality show 'The Quest', the action comedy 'Knight and Day' with Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise as well as the 22nd James Bond film – 'A Quantum of Solace'.

Location Austria undertook great efforts in 2018 to open up new markets with a special focus on India, resulting in six Indian producers visiting Austria in September 2018. Their journey culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian Film & Television Producers Guild, External Trade Austria and Location Austria to intensify the already existing cooperation between the two countries.

Together with aws (Austria Wirtschaftsservice), ABA coordinates the FISA support programme. Since the establishment of FISA (Film Industry Support Austria) in 2010 till the end of 2018, 227 cinematographic works were supported with funds of roughly €60m. A member of Filming Europe (EUFCN, European Film Commission Network), Location Austria is well integrated into a European network. Arie Bohrer of Location Austria has served on the EUFCN Advisory Board since the beginning of 2015. Filming Europe represents more than 80 European Film Commissions from almost 30 different countries.
Direct information on LOCATION AUSTRIA is available at locationaustria and on FISA at filmstandort-austria.at .

Film

Here you can find all key information on the funding programme of FISA – Film Industry Support Austria, on existing film agreements as well as the recognition of co-productions.

FISA – Film Industry Support Austria

This film funding programme strengthens the competitiveness of the Austrian film industry and makes Austria attractive as a location for foreign co-production partners. Information and submission of application

Recognition of co-productions

It should be noted that an application for recognition of co-productions must be filed before shooting begins. The relevant time limits need to be observed. Co-productions are becoming increasingly important for the Austrian film industry. They generate enhanced funding options for individual films on the one hand, and help in seeing that the capital invested pays off (access to additional markets for sales) on the other. Films that are co-produced are deemed to be equivalent to films that are produced nationally and may receive the kind of support that is available in the country party to the agreement. The recognition of co-productions as well as negotiations on bilateral film agreements fall within the remit of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs. The Federal Chancellery is responsible for the funding of films (Austrian Film Institute – Österreichisches Filminstitut) and the representation of Austria in international film forums.

Women in Business

Supporting women in business is of great importance for the Austrian market in social policy, demographic and economic terms.

Location Policy

The goal of economic policy is to sustainably improve the quality of life of citizens by securing jobs as well as ensuring income growth and a fair distribution of income with due regard to appropriate social and environmental standards. Location policy is part of economic policy aimed at devising strategic positions and consistent long-term measures for improving the international competitiveness of an economic region in a sustainable manner. The basic thrust of the location policies pursued by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs is to create and design a business-friendly environment in Austria resulting in a positive sum game with long-term benefits for both employers and employees. With the transfer of important economic policy powers to the European level – in particular concerning monetary policy and the framework for budgetary policy – location policy has become a key instrument for steering the economy.

The quality of the Austrian economy as a business location has been constantly improved as shown by various rankings: economic downturns were met by Austria's economic policy with investments in research and education as well as efforts to strengthen entrepreneurial freedom and hone the framework conditions for businesses – the response thus chosen focused on structural improvement as a basis for sustainable economic growth. Traditional strengths of the Austrian regions such as high environmental quality, labour skills or economic and social stability were consolidated and further expanded.

Major structural improvements are expected to result from the 2012 increase of research spending to around 2.8 per cent of GDP, but also from the liberalisation of the Austrian Trade Act (Gewerbeordnung – GewO) and the privatisation of economically significant supply industries (already implemented in part), the liberalisation of the energy and telecommunication markets, the reinforcement of the capital market (in particular risk capital), administrative reforms and in particular simplified administrative procedures and the alleviation of the financial burden involved in business start-up processes.

Policies in recent years have encouraged market economic processes and initiated a trend reversal towards measures ensuring a balanced budget. In response to changes in society, policies have also been adapted to encourage self-autonomy and individual responsibility as well as to raise awareness regarding the necessity of taking ownership for one's actions, thus laying the cornerstone for a successful Austrian location policy.

Overview: Location-relevant policy areas by groups of instruments

  • Tax reform: corporate income tax rate (KöSt) reduced to 25 per cent
  • Sustainable budget consolidation: balanced budgets over the cycle
  • Targeted funding policy: institutional and programmatic restructuring
  • Policies of liberalisation: Trade Act, energy, telecommunication, shop-opening hours, facilitation of start-ups
  • Start-up policies focusing on technology and innovation
  • Privatisation policies
  • Administrative reform: New Public Management and e-Government
  • Reinforcement of the (risk) capital market
  • Efficient labour market policy and modernisation of the public employment service

Proposals for location development

The Location Development Act (Standortentwicklungsgesetz – StEntG) of the Austrian federal government aims to provide an accelerated procedure for projects of relevance (impact) to a region and of special public interest to the Republic of Austria. This Act establishes a framework which affords predictability with respect to decisions made by public authorities and enhances legal certainty for businesses and citizens. In the eyes of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs, faster decisions and accelerated procedures are key to promoting new jobs, competitive strength and security of supply.

Experience has shown that projects of importance to the Austrian economy are at risk of getting stuck in complex administrative processes in spite of defined procedural time-limits. Excessively long procedures constitute a massive disadvantage for the Austrian market, inhibiting the involvement of private investors and wasting an opportunity for increasing competitiveness. With the Location Development Act, the federal government ensures that the developers of location-relevant projects can assert their claim to accelerated procedures. A location-relevant project within the meaning of this Act is a project that requires an environmental impact assessment. The Act is intended to encourage projects and result in value being added and jobs being created in Austria rather than being delocalised.

Applicants for location-relevant projects may submit their proposals at: AnregungStandortentwicklung.POST@bmdw.gv.at

Business Policy as a Key Element of Government Economic Policy

Within this context, business policy is an ongoing process aimed at optimising the framework conditions for companies of all sizes and sectors, while supporting areas with a potential to increase Austria's competitiveness and economic growth. The economic structure of the country, with more than 99 per cent made up of small- and medium-sized companies, explains why SME policy is the key element of business politics.

It is in the nature of things that some 328,900 SMEs, defined as companies with fewer than 250 employees, are very heterogeneous. They also include roughly 120,500 one-person enterprises (OPEs), meaning businesses which currently have no employees but frequently tend to grow and want to recruit staff, as well as roughly 5,500 medium-sized enterprises (50-249 employees). These data refer to 2016, the most recent data available from Statistics Austria. This signifies that the needs and concerns of SMEs vary greatly. Consequently, the business policy of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs involves sector- and size-specific measures, while at the same time pursuing the common interests of all business undertakings.

Business Start-up

Launching one's own business is an excellent opportunity for people who wish to work independently and are prepared to undertake above average efforts. New companies provide major impetus to domestic business, create new jobs and are thus important engines of growth. Austria needs these innovative and inventive workers who turn their professional strengths and qualifications into brands of their own, while generating growth, employment and structural effects. In particular in economically difficult times, the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs is very much interested in further optimising the framework for those wishing to set up business and offers support to business starters. The Start-up Service (German) of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs will assist you in your first steps towards self-employment.

For further information and to establish business in Austria you can also consider the platform Unternehmensserviceportal usp.gv.at.

Figures:

  • 29,935 business starters in 2017
  • 44.1 per cent women's share in new start-ups in 2017
  • 80 per cent still in business after three years, 68 per cent after five years

Contact

Location and Business Policy: wirtschaftsstandort@bmdw.gv.at