News from the BioCity Campus

30 years of Saxony Economic Development GmbH – on a constant road to success as a door opener, bridge builder and networker for the business location

  • Successful settlements confirm Saxony's attractiveness as a location: 645 new settlements and expansions in 30 years
  • Growing importance of the export business for Saxony: New requirements due to changes in the markets, changes in technology and stronger networking of the sectors - expansion of cross-cluster work
  • Trade fairs and business trips: Further development of proven instruments for sales promotion and cooperation for Saxon companies

Settlement successes confirm Saxony's attractiveness as a location

The Saxony Economic Development Corporation (WFS) sees itself as a door opener, bridge builder and networker for companies, investors and the business location. Since it was founded in 1991, the WFS has accompanied 645 new settlements and expansions with an investment volume of approx. 10,8 billion euros, which has directly created or secured more than 60.000 jobs. The new jobs were mainly created in the automotive industry, logistics, microelectronics, mechanical and plant engineering, life sciences and environmental and energy technology sectors. These settlement successes confirm the great attractiveness of Saxony as a business location.

Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer: »After an extremely difficult time in the early 90s, the Saxon economy has developed incredibly successfully and is now a top business location in the heart of Europe. The fact that the Saxon economy was able to develop so successfully also has something to do with the commitment of the state's own economic development. Over the past three decades, she has always been very successful in promoting the location, new settlements and investments, thus ensuring economic dynamism, employment and prosperity in our country. Through clever and forward-looking work, the WFS has also contributed to Saxony being the most important location for the European chip industry today.«

»After German reunification, massive efforts were necessary to reposition Saxony as a business location. In the past 30 years, Saxony's economic development agency has played a significant role in the successful development of the Free State," emphasizes the Saxon Economics Minister and WFS Supervisory Board Chairman Martin Dulig. »What we have achieved is really something to be proud of. Saxony is the largest semiconductor location in Europe. Microelectronics is a key industry for maintaining and expanding the ability to innovate and compete in all important economic sectors. Saxony is also once again a world-renowned car country. And sectors such as mechanical engineering, biotechnology and environmental technology are developing dynamically and are posting strong growth.«

At the same time, Minister Dulig acknowledged the commitment of the WFS workforce: “The WFS and its employees – headed by Thomas Horn since 2018 – are an indispensable partner for Saxon companies. I would like to thank all employees of the WFS for their tireless work, their commitment - often also at weekends or, if it is necessary to switch telephones with companies overseas, also at night. Without them, Saxony's economy would look different today.«

»This positive development was successful in an environment that was repeatedly characterized by particular challenges. The upheaval in the 1990s, the flood disaster of 2002, the global financial crisis from 2007 or the ongoing current corona pandemic were some of them. Enormous efforts were necessary, especially after the reunification, to reposition Saxony as a business location for the future. Previous products were no longer in demand, important export markets disappeared and many companies faced existential problems. Lighthouse projects such as Volkswagen's decision in favor of Zwickau and Chemnitz, the settlements of BMW, Porsche and DHL in Leipzig as well as the Siemens chip factory (today Infineon) and AMD (today Globalfoundries) in Dresden in the 1990s and early 2000s were not only a signal for a new beginning, but also important anchors in the regions. A functioning and broad-based system of suppliers and medium-sized companies has settled around these companies. This also laid the foundation for today's very successful industry networks such as Silicon Saxony, VEMAS, AMZ. These and the clusters that have emerged are in turn important for new settlements, because investors there immediately benefit from the existing network. Despite everything, attracting investors will not be easy in the future either, because other markets also offer attractive conditions and new markets are courting for settlements. For us this means: the business location can only convince in the future if it is in top form. In doing so, we rely above all on the high level of technological competence in future-oriented sectors and the close cooperation between industry and research and development,” says WFS Managing Director Thomas Horn.

Growing importance of export business for Saxony - expansion of cross-cluster work
In the past 30 years, the export business has become increasingly important for the economic development of the Free State. Since the eastward enlargement of the EU between 2004 and 2019 alone, exports have risen from 16,2 billion euros to 40,3 billion euros, more than doubling. More than every third euro is now earned abroad. This not only secures local jobs, but also creates many new jobs in the exporting companies.

In the course of this time, the markets for Saxon companies have also changed: while in 1991 the then Soviet Union was still the most important trading partner, China and the USA are now the largest sales markets. But the European markets are also showing great dynamism and the neighboring countries of Poland and the Czech Republic are both among the TOP 5 trading partners for Saxony.

»Supporting Saxon companies in opening up international markets remains a focus of the WFS. We support companies in reacting to changes in the international markets by recognizing relevant technology and market trends at an early stage and further developing the strategic focus on core industries and future technologies. The current topic of robotics and the impetus for »Robot Valley Saxony« should be mentioned here. Cross-cluster work, ie the networking of the relevant sectors with each other and with research and development institutions, will continue to gain in importance. There is potential there to secure the necessary lead in global competition with innovative ideas and projects,” explains Thomas Horn.

Further development of proven instruments for sales promotion and cooperation for Saxon companies
Participation in international trade fairs as well as business and delegation trips are important instruments for exploring foreign markets and examining cooperation opportunities, especially for small and medium-sized companies that shape the Saxon economy.

Since 1991, 326 business trips with almost 4.000 participants have taken place. The first WFS delegation trip was in 1992 to Ufa, the capital of the Russian Republic of Bashkortostan. In the same year there was also the first joint company stand of the WFS at the Leipzig spring fair »Dialog 92«. Since then, almost 6.000 Saxon exhibitors have presented themselves at such joint stands at more than 400 trade fairs.

»It is now crucial for the WFS to pick up momentum again after the corona pandemic with presence formats at home and abroad in order to meet the great interest of companies for personal contacts at trade fairs and business trips, but also to respond to the changed market situation and technological developments in Germany to map our formats. To do this, we will use the experience gained during the pandemic, e.g. on virtual business trips, and further develop proven formats in a modern and functional way," says Thomas Horn.

Background information on 30 years of WFS

  • Founding of WFS on July 22.07.1991, XNUMX as a state-owned company
  • 1991: 1st settlement: Kronospan (production and sale of building materials based on wood) in Lampertswalde
  • 1991: 50.000 copies of the “Saxony image brochure” are sent to 35 countries
  • 1992: Organization of the first state information / joint company stand for Saxony at the Leipzig spring fair »Dialog 92« (on behalf of the SMWA)
  • 1992: First delegation trip organized by the WFS – led by the Prime Minister – to Ufa, the capital of the Russian Republic of Bashkortostan; since then 325 further company and delegation trips all over the world
  • 1993: Introduction of the municipal economic information system KWIS with commercial space and company database
  • 1994: Settlement of the first Japanese investor in Saxony: Takata Sachsen GmbH in Elterlein (today: three locations of Joyson Safety Systems in Saxony)
  • 1996: the WFS hosts the website of the Free State of Saxony (until 2009)
  • 1997: Introduction of an online company database
  • 1998: Groundbreaking ceremony at TD Deutsche Klimakompressor GmbH as a subsidiary of Toyota and Denso in Straßgräbchen
  • 1999: Porsche AG decides on the Leipzig location
  • 2001: BMW AG decides on the Leipzig location
  • 2003: Premiere of the "Autoland Sachsen" brand at the IAA in Frankfurt/M.
  • 2004: Settlement of DHL in Leipzig
  • 2006: Amazon logistics decided to go to Leipzig
  • 2008: Start of marketing of Saxony as a business location under the SACHSEN umbrella brand! (SAXONY!) and establishment of the foreign trade initiative AWIS on the initiative of the SMWA together with the IHKn and HWKn
  • 2012: Organization of the first "Enjoy Saxony" joint stands at food industry trade fairs
  • 2013: First investment from Poland: COMARCH construction of a data center in Dresden * 2016: President of the Federal Council of the Free State of Saxony with delegation trips by the President of the Federal Council and Prime Minister to South Korea and Singapore as well as Mexico and Cuba
  • 2016: Start of the »internationalization offensive« IOSax
  • 2017: Robert Bosch GmbH decides to set up a semiconductor production facility in Dresden
  • 2017: Largest Saxon business delegation outside of Europe with 41 participating companies as part of the delegation trip to China led by the Prime Minister on the occasion of Saxony’s ten-year regional partnership with Hubei
  • 2019: The Sierra Nevada Corporation from the USA decided to found the company Deutsche Aircraft and to build a factory for short-haul aircraft of the type D 328eco in Schkeuditz
  • 2019: Launch of the portal together with the Brandenburg Economic Development Agency as the first cross-state investor portal in Germany
  • 2020: Settlement of Beiersdorf AG in Leipzig
  • 2021: Settlement of the Vodafone Group in Dresden

Source: Press release Wirtschaftsförderung Sachsen mbH from October 11.10.2021th, XNUMX

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