Whiteboardmag summarized how European “startup hubs” are performing globally. “Berlin,” it announces matter-of-factly, “for all the recent hype about competing with London as the place to be to launch a company in Europe, finishes behind Paris.” Indeed, Berlin places fifteen globally as a place to start up a company, which begs the question: why does Berlin continually receive attention, support and accolades as an amazing place to grow a business?
In November of 2012, tech giant Google pledged one million Euros to Berlin’s “The Factory”, a 12,000 square metre development in Central Berlin, where established companies and startups alike will be brought together. Berlin’s Soundcloud, 6 Wunderkinder, Versus 10 and Toast have confirmed their tenancy in the building, as well as tech mogul Mozilla, and the funds Google has committed will be allocated through The Factory in the form of training, mentoring, and other activities to aid startup activity in the area. Additionally, Berlin recently hosted the NOAH Conference, one of the tech industry’s biggest events. Again and again, Berlin seems to catch the world’s eye for its efforts to reinvent itself.
Yet, if Berlin places fifteen as a startup hub, why? In this writer’s opinion, it’s because deep down inside, everyone loves rooting for the underdog. We are all familiar with Berlin’s back story. Torn apart by war and oppression, Berlin, once one of Europe’s most popular and prestigious cities fell tremendously from grace and has only had the last twenty five years, after the fall of the Berlin wall, to play catch up.
It seems fitting that Berlin would become a centre for technology, earning even Google’s respect. After all, Google democratized the job market in many ways by delivering us a platform to discover the world around us. It no longer mattered “who you knew” most. Technology, and the internet, rewards those who deserve it most. You no longer have to spend a fortune on college just to make a living wage. If you are smart enough, and willing to put in hard work, you can teach yourself the skills you need online, obtain a tech certification, and gain employment that way. What a fitting industry for Berlin to embrace!
And even though they rank fifteen worldwide, in a world with a tumultuous job market, the number of opportunities in Berlin has increased by 43% since 2008. They have grown exponentially and if anything, this growth alone proves that Berlin deserves our attention and admiration.