Hungarian enterprises discover the joys of doing business in Austria


Neighboring Austria attracts businesses from abroad with several incentives, and now Hungarian startups have the chance to gain a foothold there under a targeted business development program.

Before Hungary joined the European Union in May 2004, the government sought to do its bit in promoting the pros of membership during the accession referendum campaign by citing several practical advantages. Among them was the potential opportunity of opening your own pastry shop in Vienna, a scenario much ridiculed by the Hungarian public at the time because it was seen as being highly unlikely.

Times have changed, however, and now hundreds of Hungarians set up enterprises in Austria each year. This number should grow even further, thanks to a recently launched business development program initiated by Loffice, which describes itself as the first-ever co-working space in Budapest that also prepares startups for market entry. Under its “Vienna WOW” program, 16 applicants were selected to receive tailor-made assistance from renowned professionals with hands-on experience of the Austrian market.

“In Austria, those enterprises can count on success that enter the market after thorough preparation and becoming familiar with the legal, accounting and tax environment,” says Dr. Zoltán Baranyai, an attorney at Oppenheim Law Firm. According to him, it is worth thinking about the best way to proceed with operations: should a new company or branch office be established on the spot, or would cross-border services offer a better solution?

Either way, Austria welcomes ambitious businesses with attractive incentive packages. Startups pay reduced social security contributions and their R&D activities are also funded. If necessary, even a personal assistant is assigned, whose job is to represent the interests of the entrepreneur before authorities and to help the business launch with advice.

“Applicants can spare themselves a lot of losses and administrative errors, and they also can get feedback on what chance they stand of attracting professional investors,” says Kata Klementz, the managing director of Loffice who also coordinates the program. “Entrepreneurs are provided with so much advice within one day that could only otherwise be acquired in a lengthy and costly manner.”

Loffice plans to make such business development consultations regular. Hungarian hopefuls will have the chance to gain such expert insight every half a year.

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