Once an industrial city experiencing economic stagnation and deserted by many of its residents after the fall of the Berlin Wall, today Leipzig is rising like a phoenix from the ashes to position itself for the future and at the forefront of European cities.
Located just one hour from Berlin by train, the city is leveraging its strategic location at the heart of Europe. Strong transportation and logistics links and well-educated workforce are building on its industrial and manufacturing roots giving rise to a number of high-tech and high-growth firms and industries.
Leipzig is already beginning to reap the benefits of investing in and attracting these new, modern technologies to create a sustainable city for the future. Luring back its residents, attracting students, entrepreneurs and creatives, the city is evolving at a remarkable rate to rank among Germany – and Europe’s – most liveable cities.
Read on to find out what factors are making Leipzig one of the region’s most attractive investment destinations.
1. A PLAN FOR SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Leipzig’s rapid economic development is underpinned by the INSEK Integrated Urban Development Concept for Leipzig 2030 – “Leipzig 2030” – a blueprint for transforming the city into a national and international business hub and leading European city of arts and sciences.
The successor to the Urban Development Concept, Leipzig 2030 draws a multidisciplinary strategy for the city’s urban development over the next 10 to 15 years focusing on 11 concept areas: housing; economy and employment; free spaces and environment; education; social topics; culture; centres; transport and technical facilities; preservation of ancient monuments; sports and universities and research establishments.
The main tenant of Leipzig 2030 is not to solely focus on quantitative growth but to grow in a sustainable manner, preserving natural resources and giving equal footing to social integration while carefully monitoring the ecological consequences of economic growth. By increasing the quality of life for residents, while improving the city’s national and international status, Leipzig will remain a highly desirable destination for employers and skilled workers in the long term.
2. MIX OF INDUSTRIES FUELING JOB CREATION AND INVESTMENT
Through the 2030 plan, Leipzig is encouraging the development of several high-growth industries, broadening its economic base and welcoming innovation for the sustainable growth of the city.
Leipzig is focusing on becoming Germany’s most attractive investment destination for 5 key high-growth industries – Healthcare and Biotech, Logistics, Media and Creative, Automotive and Suppliers and Energy and Environment.
At the same time, industry giants continue to heavily invest and set up a base or headquarters in the city.
Siemens produces its turbo compressors in Leipzig for use in the energy industry, and in the supplier sector, Georg Fischer has significantly expanded its production in the last few years. As the largest production centre for electric and hybrid vehicles in Eastern Germany, Leipzig is also a base for automotive marques like Porsche, and BMW recently invested around EUR 1 billion to set up a new plant containing its game-changing headquarters.
With its central European location, logistics and transport connections and as the site of the 5th-largest European freight centre at Leipzig/Halle Airport, leading logistics players including DHL, DB Schenker and Amazon are making the area one of the top logistics hubs in not only Germany but also Europe.
With profitable investments from local and international businesses, Leipzig’s momentum as an attractive investment destination looks likely to carry forward underpinned by its sustainable strategy for development.
3. A THRIVING ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEM
With a relatively low cost of living, startups and entrepreneurs are finding Leipzig an ideal destination for tech growth, complemented by the city’s technology-driven economy and cultural renaissance over the past few decades. Tech entrepreneurs continuing to invest in Leipzig also benefit from an abundance of tech and highly-educated talent. Boasting a strong education sector, the city is home to 11 universities and about 40,000 students, giving entrepreneurs easy access to homegrown and international talent.
Becoming a fertile ground for innovation, coworking spaces, local meetups, hackathons, accelerators and a community of coworking spaces are all springing up in support of Leipzig’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.
SpinLab is an incubator co-founded and co-funded by HHL Graduate School of Management that aims to support innovative tech startups. Through the ‘Spinlab – The HHL Accelerator’ six-month programme, participants can use modern coworking offices and access various technologies to grow their start-up. As well as a number of coworking spaces, including Basislager Coworking, Tapetenwerk Leipzig and Social Impact Lab Leipzig, SMILE – Self Management Initiative Leipzig – offers supervision and coaching to start-ups and spin-off companies as well training for management qualifications.
Leipzig’s growing start-up community is creating jobs, attracting a valuable talent pool and having a positive impact on the urban community, as it continues to grow and evolve, it will remain a great asset to the city.
Leipzig is on a meteoric rise, and its reputation as one of Europe’s most attractive investment destinations is powered by a sound strategy for sustainable development, a broad economic base fueled by high-growth industries and a growing start-up and entrepreneurial scene.