Berlin The federal government sees itself on the right track in implementing the start-up strategy it decided on around a year ago. More than 40 percent of the approximately 130 measures have already been implemented, according to the still unpublished progress report from the Federal Ministry of Economics, which is available to Handelsblatt.
The 46-page document is scheduled to be officially presented in Berlin on Tuesday. 50 percent of the measures have been initiated and ten percent have not yet started. In the report, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens), for example, describes the Skilled Immigration Act, which is intended to significantly simplify the recruitment of talent from abroad, as a “milestone”.
There are also “important projects” in the financing area such as the Deep Tech & Climate Fund. The ministry wants to provide one billion euros over the next ten years for companies with future technologies. The ministry announced the first investment in the spring.
According to Habeck, other projects are developing very well, such as the draft of the Future Financing Act. This is intended to solve the “dry income” problem that is much criticized by start-ups, in which employees have to pay tax on company shares before they can monetize them.
The law can also be found in the “Germany Pact” announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in the Bundestag last week. It must become easier to “found start-ups and make them successful,” it says.
The industry, on the other hand, accused the federal government of being slow to implement its plans. The strategy is an “important milestone for the start-up ecosystem in Germany,” said the chairman of the startup association, Christian Miele, to the Handelsblatt.
New start-ups have become the focus of political interest. Other countries, however, are “already much further along and have specific start-up goals,” he said. “Overall, we need more speed in the interests of our state’s innovation and future viability.” The federal government must give more priority to start-up topics. The next twelve months are crucial for implementing the strategy.
Better conditions for employee participation
The industry is looking back on a difficult year. Increased interest rates, uncertainty about economic developments and hesitant investors plunged the start-up scene into crisis. Although the number of new start-ups increased again in 2023, investors are still holding back.
According to the start-up barometer from the consulting firm EY, the investment volume in the first half of the year halved to almost three billion euros compared to the same period last year.
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“We are counting on the federal government to move forward ambitiously in the further implementation of the strategy and to quickly implement the strategy’s promising projects,” said Miele. He cited the Skilled Immigration Act as an example.
“Visa processes must be digitized, harmonized and accelerated,” he said. Companies have so far faced high bureaucratic hurdles in bringing talent from abroad to Germany.
According to the law, IT specialists should in future be allowed to come without a university degree. In addition, foreigners should be able to obtain a residence permit more easily through a so-called opportunity card, depending on their language skills, professional experience and age.
Figures from the Federal Ministry of Economics show that the need for personnel is great. At 28,700, the number of skilled workers missing in the start-up industry is “larger than ever before,” the ministry stated last year.
Miele also praised the fact that the cabinet passed the Future Financing Act in mid-August. This is an important step, said Miele. Among other things, it provides for a higher tax allowance for employee shareholdings.
They are a tool for start-ups to bind talent to their company. Although they generally cannot pay the salaries of large corporations, they can draw attention to themselves with participation programs and thus allow employees to participate in the company’s success.
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