learning fast

Frankfurt (Oder) is building on the strengths of its university to foster the development of successful start-ups through new co-working spaces and the promotion of sustainable practices and products. 

Founded in 1506, the European University Viadrina (EUV), which today has a campus in both Frankfurt (Oder) and its twin city Słubice, has been fundamental to the city’s bustling environment. Located in the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region – which has the highest density of universities and research institutes in Germany – the EUV has some 6500 students, many of whom commute from the capital Berlin.

“Due to its location on the German-Polish border, the EUV with students from 100 countries, the IHP-Leibniz Institute for microelectronics and the existing companies on site, you have an international and open atmosphere in Frankfurt (Oder),” says Helge Puhlmann, European president of Yamaichi Electronics, which recently announced an expansion project in the city.

Accelerating talent

One success story coming out of the EUV is AsGoodAsNew, which buys used electronic devices to resell by renovating them and replacing defective parts. The company, set up by a former graduate in his living room, now employs more than 130 staff in Frankfurt (Oder) and Berlin of various nationalities including German, Polish, French and Syrian, and has had success across Europe. 

To enhance the EUV's existing credentials – it has 200 partner universities worldwide and offers courses including 20 different international double degrees at undergraduate and graduate levels – the state of Brandenburg will be investing €8m to establish a co-working space at the university called Founder’s Room.

“We see a great potential in promoting the region as a start-up incubator and accelerator in the German capital region of Berlin-Brandenburg," says Christopher Nuesslein, managing director of Investor Center Ostbrandenburg. "We have a strong network, which is continuously encouraging students and young entrepreneurs to make use of the various possibilities [that exist in the area]. These include regular meetings and events in new co-working spaces in the city centre or at the EUV in Frankfurt (Oder), but also informal coaching programmes by entrepreneurial personalities of the region.” 

The planned co-working space will add to the emerging ecosystem for start-ups and freelancers propelled by Blok 0, an operational 750-square-metre co-working space that recently opened in central Frankfurt (Oder). Set up by Sparda Bank Berlin and St Oberholz in a building formerly used as a store for children’s products, the shared office space community provides a collaborative space for the development of new-generation companies.

Sustainable commitment

One successful company headquartered in Frankfurt (Oder) is Unicaps, a producer of biodegradable tea and coffee capsules that has operated since early 2018. The company sells its products to several major German retailers, such as Metro, Rewe and Edeka, and has made a sustainable commitment to implement completely carbon dioxide-free coffee production in the future.

Other steps are being taken towards sustainability in the city, with Stadtwerke Frankfurt (Oder) set to invest €60m into converting its power plant away from lignite dust towards natural gas, with the new gas engine system set to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 35,000 tonnes per year. Moreover, improvements in the rail connection due in 2022 between Frankfurt (Oder) and other parts of Brandenburg, such as Berlin and Brandenburg an der Havel, are part of attempts to solidify connectivity in the region and reduce emissions from road travel.

This report was published in association with Investor Center Ostbrandenburg, GVZ Frankfurt (Oder) and Oder Frankfurt Słubice. Reporting and editing were carried out independently by fDi Magazine.

This article is sourced from fDi Magazine
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