Start-ups provide fresh impetus in the Austrian economy. The start-up service of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber supports startups, among other things, with questions regarding financing and organization, drawing on a broad network of experts.
Elisabeth Zehetner-Piewald is the Federal Managing Director of the Founder Service Austria and the Federal Managing Director of Junge Wirtschaft Österreich. In a conversation with trending topics, she explains what startups can contribute to Austria’s overall economy and how women’s share in start-ups can be increased.
The proportion of women in Startup start-ups in Austria is still very low. How could you counteract?
Elisabeth Zehetner-Piewald: The great news is that over 45 percent of start-ups are made by women. If you take the narrow definition of startups, you have to say, unfortunately, in very innovative fast-growing technology companies and startups, as the proportion of women is only twelve percent.
What you can do about it: You have to start in the kindergarten and to inspire women for MINT subjects (Mathematics, Computer Science, Science and Technology, Note) during the entire training period. Then you will also have founders in this area.
How are startups financed in Austria? Where do you see strengths and where do you need to catch up?
Where we are in a great position is the Austrian development landscape. 55 percent of Austrian startups say they are funded by grants. But the lion’s share is still your own family and your own savings. The exciting thing is that now one third is financed through business angels and almost 15 percent through venture capital.
What are the responsibilities of the founder service and how many startups are using these services?
The start-up service offers comprehensive individual advice for all start-ups, no matter in which area you would like to become self-employed. Our range extends from advice on social security, taxes, trade law to support in the preparation of the business plan or the right promotional mix. We also try to assist with our extensive network of experts, whether patent applications or export.
What do startups in Austria contribute to the overall economy?
Startups are very important drivers for the economy as a whole. With their innovation impulses, they ensure that the economy as a whole is renewed and that our location remains fit for the future.