+49 (0) 421 9600-10
7 March 2017 - Merle Burghart

"We have the right solution for any enquiry" – why it's so easy for international companies to set up business in Bremen


Andreas Gerber talks about his dream job in the international team at Bremeninvest

From initial idea to successful move. Andreas Gerber, who heads up the international relocation team at Bremeninvest, knows what international companies need to do to set up a business in Bremen. Here he tells us about the most important steps on the path to running your own company in the city.

Andreas Gerber, Team leader and project manager
Andreas Gerber, head of the international relocation team at Bremeninvest © WFB / Jann Raveling

Mr Gerber, as part of the international team you've been involved in setting up businesses in Bremen since 2006. Which countries does Bremeninvest cover?

We cover all countries – we're happy to hear from any international company interested in setting up a business in Bremen. Our key markets, however, are the USA, China and Turkey, where we have local Bremeninvest offices in which our colleagues actively promote Bremen as a location for inward investment and provide support to our customers. Our commitment doesn't depend on the size of the company or the sector in which it operates. We always offer companies our fullest support, no matter how small the project might appear at the start.

Companies value fast access to comprehensive information. How big is your team?

There are ten members in our team. Seven of us are based in Bremen and three are based in our local offices in Shanghai, Atlanta and Izmir.

How do you support international companies?

Anyone who's decided to set up a business outside their home country has many things to consider. It's our job to support individuals and companies throughout the process. We reach out to people and provide structured support every step of the way, from the initial idea to the successful set up.

You say you provide support throughout the process. What kind of support do you provide?

The process of setting up a business goes through several phases. Put simply, there are three: the decision-making phase, the local consultation in Bremen and the setting up itself.

How does it all start?

First of all, the decision to set up a business must be prepared. We can help with market launch strategies and can find answers to an often broad range of questions, including in regard to the required legal structure and general tax matters. As soon as a decision to visit Bremen has been made, we organise a local meeting with lawyers, tax advisors, banks and potential partners. And finally, a suitable site or office needs to be found in Bremen. We can also help to establish contact with potential partners and institutes, of course.

What happens once I've set up my business in Bremen?

We provide help not only with setting up the business and finding a site or property, but also with any visa issues that may arise. We are here for our customers even after the company has been set up, as the questions don't stop as soon as your site or office is open for business. Far from it.

The WTC in Bremen is part of the World Trade Centers Association, which covers 89 countries
The WTC in Bremen is part of the World Trade Centers Association, which covers 89 countries © Bremeninvest/Jens Lehmkühler

It's obviously quite difficult for someone from another country to find the right location.

This is exactly what we're here to help with. Especially during the start-up phase a small office can help a company to get going. That's why we established the World Trade Center building in Bremen, where international companies can set up their businesses in smaller office units. Offices can also be rented fully furnished. The centralised reception and phone service ensure permanent availability – even when you're out of the office. And we can also help with finding production and warehouse facilities.

The Brexit vote will bring changes to the economic relationship between the EU and the UK. How are you dealing with Brexit and its potential impact on companies?

I see Brexit as an opportunity for Bremen, but we'll have to await the outcome of the negotiations between the EU and the UK. There will be larger or smaller obstacles for UK-based companies that want to continue to operate in the EU, depending on what shape tariff and non-tariff trade barriers take. We are well-prepared and offer services that are targeted at this situation.

Why should international companies choose Bremen?

Bremen is one of Germany's leading federal states, especially in the automotive, aerospace and maritime industries, and sectors such as wind energy, food and beverage, and tobacco. Germany's largest cargo distribution centre is located in Bremen. We are well placed in terms of logistics, and Bremen is an international location with excellent transport links. Those bringing their family will find multilingual nurseries, an international school, university courses taught in English and a globally active business community.

Bremen and its port are a logistics hub offering great opportunities
Bremen and its port are a logistics hub offering great opportunities © Bremeninvest/Frank Pusch

If I decide to set up my business in Bremen, how do I go about it?

Just get in touch with us, either through one of our Bremeninvest offices or by contacting us directly in Bremen. We will then get together with you and discuss what you – or what your company – have in mind, before going over the next steps. Depending on how advanced your plans are and how much you already know, we will then go through each individual step. Customers can tell us how quickly they want to proceed – we have proven in the past that we and our partners can help to set up companies at very short notice.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

This is my dream job, and I enjoy the contact with companies the most. The people who come to us are all interesting, passionate and highly motivated characters, and they all want to achieve something. No two days are the same and I always encounter new situations.

Mr Gerber, thank you for the interview.

If you are interested in investing in Bremen from abroad, please feel free to contact Andreas Gerber, head of the international relocation team, +49 (0) 421 9600-123, gerber@bremen-invest.com

Your contact for business services and sales at the World Trade Center is Elisabeth Breidbach, +49 (0)421 9600 241, elisabeth.breidbach@wfb-bremen.de

Further information on the services provided by the World Trade Center in Bremen can be found here.

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