Bavaria as a business location

Bavaria’s economy is one of the strongest in Europe. Besides traditional multinationals, global players in the IT industry and a strong SME sector, the start-up scene is also growing. The structure of the companies ranges from international technology companies and SMEs to traditional businesses and start-ups. International labs and universities complement the landscape alongside our world-renowned science and research community, our (elite) universities, networks and access to capital and platforms.

Yet what exactly is it that distinguishes this business location from the others and makes it so attractive to start-ups? There are probably 1,000 good reasons, but here are some of the most important:

  • 123.787 Number of business registrations (2021)
  • 11.875 Patent applications (2021)
  • 29,8 % The percentage of German patent applications filed in Bavaria (2021)
  • 37 % GDP growth in per cent (2011–2021)
  • 1,114,150 Number of jobs created that are subject to social security contributions (2010/2020)
  • 6 Number of unicorns in Bavaria
  • 1.7 Billion Investments in Bavarian start-ups in EUR (2023)

Bavaria is strong

Multinationals, SMEs and start-ups – Bavaria’s strong economy is based on their diversity and the culture of innovation that exists within the companies and wider society. Company founders in Bavaria can draw on and build on an extensive network of potential cooperation partners and customers.


Eight out of thirty DAX-listed companies, including Siemens, adidas and BMW, are based in Bavaria. Multinationals such as Microsoft, Intel and Google have their German headquarters or laboratories here. Family-run SMEs (External link) such as Horsch Maschinen GmbH (External link) , UVEX Winterholding GmbH & Co. KG (External link) or b-plus GmbH (External link) represent the backbone of the business location. Many of the companies are ‘hidden champions’ and global market leaders in their field.

The automotive and mechanical engineering industries are among the strongest sectors in Bavaria. Other significant economic sectors – such as environmental, energy and biotechnology companies and the aerospace industry – are also firmly rooted in Bavaria.

The interaction between the established DAX-listed companies, specialist hidden champions in the SME sector and innovative start-ups is unique and creates a dynamic cross-industry landscape. In addition to financial and human resources and expertise, young start-ups in particular benefit from cooperation partnerships with research and industry and from strong sales markets in the immediate vicinity.

Start-ups also have the best opportunities to grow here – this is evident in the numerous success stories ranging from mymuesli (External link) to inveox (External link) .

Bavaria researches

The state of Bavaria invests a large percentage of its gross domestic product in research and development. There are a total of nine state-run universities and 24 higher education establishments (External link) in Bavaria, including the notable Ludwig Maximilian University Munich and the Technical University Munich, which have both topped the national university rankings for a number of years. There are also 13 establishments belonging to the Max Planck Society and 30 institutions within the Fraunhofer Society based at various locations throughout all regions of Bavaria.

With the Cluster Initiative Bavaria (External link) , state-wide platforms have been set up to simplify and promote direct cooperation between companies and research establishments. As a result of this close collaboration, start-ups and corporations can identify and attract young talent from universities at an early stage. 

Bavaria invests

Bavaria’s strong economic growth is also the result of an effective and successful economic policy, which aims to create the right conditions throughout Bavaria for greater investment, greater innovation and a greater ability to compete on the international stage.

Yet Bavaria does not rest on its laurels, because the digital transformation process in particular is creating huge challenges, but also opportunities for people, communities and entrepreneurs. In order to exploit these opportunities to the greatest possible extent, the state government has launched the digitalisation offensive BAYERN DIGITAL (External link) , from which the Bavarian region also specifically benefits. BAYERN DIGITAL is a programme of investment to the tune of six billion euros until 2022, creating around 2,000 new jobs and making Bavaria the leading region for digitalisation in Germany and Europe. Besides expanding the digital infrastructure, the focus is on key future areas such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing, 5G mobile technology, autonomous driving, cybersecurity, micro-systems, e-health and assistance robotics.


Bavaria is forward-looking

In the location ranking on future opportunities and risks (Prognos Zukunftsatlas 2019 (External link) ), a total of ten Bavarian cities and districts are among the top 30, proving that Bavaria is committed to driving progress. The considerable competitive ability and innovative strength of the Bavarian regions are the result of the many different people working in future industries and research and development as well as the high level of investment in industry.

Bavaria is worth living

Bavaria is a great place to live and work. Here you can not only reinvent yourself professionally with your own business, but also on a personal level and in your spare time. Business founders appreciate the quality of life in Bavaria, with its numerous beer gardens, lakes and a unique natural surrounding. Yet we also place great emphasis on creating a family-friendly environment in this state. Good schools, public safety and an excellent public transportation system are other good reasons why you, your business and your family are in good hands here.