Carinthia brings together top-notch expertise, advanced technologies and an attractive mix of industries embedded in a highly innovative environment. Located in the very heart of Europe, start-ups benefit not only from stable legal framework conditions but also from a business-friendly tax system and an excellent range of funding opportunities. Jernej Dvoršak from BABEG – Invest in Carinthia talked to us about opportunities Carinthia is offering for startups.
In a discussion at last year’s PODIM you mentioned Carinthia is a great test market. Why?
With around 100 million people in German-speaking markets, it is recommended to test the product or service on the market with similar habits, business culture, and also mentality.
It is essential to understand the customer and learn by doing. Also, the costs of living and renting an office or a flat for instance is much more accessible in comparison to bigger cities in the region. Startups enjoy the excellent infrastructure and cooperate with numerous R&D institutions to develop the product.
How does Carinthia support the Startup ecosystem?
In addition to the Carinthian economic promotion fund KWF, the industry is another active supporter of startups. Many large companies, especially in electronic-based systems, promote young entrepreneurs to develop ideas and marketable products. What is more, public infrastructure offers a wide range of possibilities, from incubator build! to Makerspace, where you can develop your first prototypes.
Are there any programs you would like to highlight?
The program UIG (Umsetzung innovativer Gründungsvorhaben), for example, supports future entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. They can get employed at a higher education or research institution for nine months. During this time, they develop their business model and study the market potential. With the monthly income, future founders can entirely focus on their idea. If it’s good, it’s time to roll up the sleeves and start your very own startup!
What about the R&D projects? Is it hard to get the application approved?
They say Austria is an El Dorado for R&D financing programs. Nevertheless, a product or service has to be new to the market, and the process of developing has to have a relatively high probability of failure. For example, KWF’s call named TD-ICT-EBS supports the projects with up to 30% non-refundable grant. Other programs where the founder, business angel, and Babeg Venture fund, each invest one-third. If the company has a prototype already, there is the program named “Finanzierung von technologieorientierten Unternehmen”. There is a wide range of programs, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.