This text was first published in the Financial Times here

Austria, like Germany, has a deftness for creating highly specialised companies — often less well-known “hidden champions” — that are also global leaders in their field, according to the agency charged with promoting investment in the country.

The Austrian Business Agency (ABA) paints a shining picture of the local start-up scene in which new businesses, incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces and new venture capital funds have emerged over recent years, attracting capital from outside.

“In 2019, start-ups attracted €218m in investment. Especially, scale-ups have been successful in attracting funding internationally,” the ABA says.

But the rate at which start-ups are created in Austria remains lower than that in comparable European countries, and a new law aimed at controlling foreign direct investment from non-EU countries, coupled with existing red tape, has prompted concerns that innovation is being stifled.

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