Germany sees increase in number of startups ‘launched by people with migrant background’

Germany sees increase in number of startups 'launched by people with migrant background'
Archive photo shows a co-working space in Berlin. Photo: DPA
Germany is benefiting from an increasing number of businesses founded by people with migration roots, a study has found.

More than one in four business startups last year were founded by foreign people or those with migrant roots, a new study has found. 

And according to research by KfW Bank, the proportion rose significantly last year.

It comes after Mainz-based BioNTech, which was co-founded by a couple who are both children of Turkish immigrants to Germany, was thrust into the spotlight around the world due to their potential coronavirus vaccine.

BioNTech was founded 12 years ago by oncologist Ugur Sahin and his wife Özlem Türeci. Sahin, who was born in Turkey and later came to Germany with his parents, received his doctorate in Cologne. Türeci, who was born in Germany, completed her doctorate in Homburg, Saarland.

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The biotech company is just one example of a successful German business founded by people with a migration background. According to the KfW Bank study, these firms play an important role for the German economy.

“Startups are important for the power of renewal and thus for the future viability of an economy,” said Fritzi Köhler-Geib, Chief Economist of the state-owned development bank KfW.

“Germany has therefore been benefiting for many years from the greater willingness of migrants to set up their own businesses.” This was evident in 2019, she added.

Last year there were a recorded 605,000 business startups in Germany – and in about 160,000 cases the founders had a migration background.

The share rose significantly by five percentage points to 26 percent compared to 2018, the evaluation by the KfW Start-up Monitor shows. According to Köhler-Geib, the spirit of innovation and the growth of migrants holds great opportunities.

READ ALSO: Four things to know about the German firm leading the Covid-19 vaccine race

According to the study, migrants or people from a migration background are also more likely to become self-employed because they can face worse chances on the labour market than those without migrant roots. That means they have a greater willingness to take risks, said the study.

Startups are young commercial enterprises founded no more than five years ago whose founders are full-time entrepreneurs, have a team of founders or employees and are innovation or growth-driven.

Migrants are counted as people who do not have German citizenship or have not had it from birth. Meanwhile, someone is considered to have a migrant background if they or at least one parent was born without German citizenship.

According to KfW, due to the pandemic, many startup plans have been put on hold. “However, the crisis can also act as a catalyst for innovation,” said Köhler-Geib. “Founders who meet the new demands with innovative business ideas can be the big winners of tomorrow.”

Vocabulary

Founded or established – gegründet

Immigrants – (die) Einwanderer

Migrant background – (der) Migrationshintergrund

Higher risk tolerance/higher willingness to take risks – (die) höhere Risikobereitschaft

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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  1. Does is really matter from which background the people come from. DR.MLK would be turning in his grave.
    Give up on trying to divide us.

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