Schleswig-Holstein: Strong sectors

Schleswig-Holstein’s business landscape is diverse, constantly on the move and shaped by Germany’s famous Mittelstand, the small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs). In fact, 99% of the approx. 129,000 companies in Schleswig-Holstein are SMEs with less than 250 employees. SMEs are not just the biggest and most diverse segment of the Schleswig-Holstein economy, they are also the motors of growth and jobs. The few large-scale corporations there are in Schleswig-Holstein could not prosper or even survive without SMEs as suppliers and service providers. One characteristic feature of our Mittelstand is its creativity and innovativeness. Ever-more complex customer requirements, changing economic fundamentals and increasing globalisation are increasingly making greater demands on companies’ products or services. And it is here that the Mittelstand is constantly providing proof of its flexibility. Several Schleswig-Holstein companies are world leaders in their specific field.

Schleswig-Holstein has several standout sectors with great future promise and development potential:

  • Digital economy
  • Life sciences
  • Logistics
  • Maritime economy
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Renewables
  • Tourism/hotels
  • Wind energy

Digital economy

Information and communications technology (ICT) enables or initiates numerous product and process innovations in other industries, e.g. energy, plant and mechanical engineering, logistics or healthcare. ICT is key to economic growth and is seen as one of Schleswig-Holstein’s decisive technological competencies. The number of IT and media companies in the state has trebled to around 13,500 since 1990. Accounting for 7.35% of all companies registered in the state, this sector is a pillar of the regional economy. And since ICT is mainly made up of small to mid-sized businesses (SMEs) spread across the state, networking plays an important role in Schleswig-Holstein’s digital economy.

Schleswig-Holstein’s digital economy covers information technology (IT), telecommunications, ICT hardware, ICT trading, e-commerce, media-related companies and the media. The strongest segments are IT (incl. software development), media-related companies and e-commerce. IT with 5,125 companies is the leading segment. Around half of those companies are software developers. Most digital economy companies are located in the south of Schleswig-Holstein, although their share of all companies is highest in the midlands (around 11%) where it is mainly media-related and IT companies.

The special cross-sectorial role the digital economy plays for all other segments of the economy in Schleswig-Holstein accounts for its great economic policy relevance. After all, an increasing degree of digitisation is impacting on every sphere of our work and private lives. Due to the fast innovation cycles in ICT many companies are regularly facing new challenges affecting their electronic business processes and their products or services. To avoid losing touch, it is vital to consistently advance Schleswig-Holstein’s development as an IT and media location. New digital technologies have to be tested and knowledge carriers from companies, universities and other institutions brought together in a cross-disciplinary way in networks focusing on issues of future relevance.

More detailed information can be found in the free brochure “Portrait of the Digital Economy in Schleswig-Holstein”.

WTSH_3_Branchenstrukur_Digitale_Wirtschaft_EN
Download the brochure

Your contact person

Kristian Hamel

Business location consultant

Phone: +49 431 66 666-878
Fax: +49 431 66 666-794


Life sciences

Schleswig-Holstein is good for people’s health. Business-friendly infrastructures that effectively promote the transfer of knowledge and technology, excellent networking between universities, research institutes and businesses, and not least the numerous institutions that support scientists in their efforts to market their products – all this makes “The True North” a particularly attractive location for life science companies.

In Schleswig-Holstein some 260 companies from the fields of medicine, medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals employ around 140,000 people. Companies from related industries have formed clusters with biotechnology strongly represented in the east and south of the state and medical technology in and around Lübeck and Norderstedt. What’s more, highly qualified graduates or other talents can be recruited from three universities and Schleswig-Holstein University Clinic, four universities of applied sciences and numerous non-university facilities.

Your contact person

Nina Pesarra

Business location consultant

Phone: +49 431 66 666-872
Fax: +49 431 66 666-794

Logistics

Schleswig-Holstein’s geographical location alone makes it one of the most important hubs of the international transport industry. Situated at the heart of Europe, Schleswig-Holstein is not just the main link to Scandinavia and the growing markets of the Baltic Region, it is also the only German state with direct access to two seas. And with Hamburg close by, companies based in Schleswig-Holstein also have easy access to global markets by sea and air.

With nearly 3,200 companies and some 53,000 employees in the transport, cargo-handling and warehousing sectors, logistics is one of Schleswig-Holstein’s most important industries. In 2014, Germany’s leading Baltic port, Lübeck, recorded a total cargo-handling volume of 26.3 million tonnes. The number of lorries and trailers handled by Lübeck Port Authority at 711,300 units was nearly 2% higher than the previous year, while the trailer segment alone increased by 5%.

Logistikbranche Schleswig-Holstein

In 2014 1,620 ships with a net registered tonnage of over 34.98 million called in at the Port of Kiel, where a total of 6.4 million tonnes of cargo was handled. Kiel is an important ferry port and has handled some 63.95 million passengers and 116.99 million tonnes of freight since operations began. In 2014 Kiel attracted over 1.6 million ferry passengers and handled more than 5.09 million tonnes of freight. In addition, 127 cruise liners called in at Kiel with 354,050 passengers embarking or disembarking. Last but not least, 32,597 ships transported around 99 million tonnes of cargo through Kiel Canal, the world’s busiest artificial waterway, in 2014

Your contact person

Nicole Wallmann

Business location consultant

Phone: +49 431 66 666-876
Fax: +49 431 66 666-794


Maritime economy

This sector includes all the research, development and production activities relating to the use of the sea. In turnover and employment terms shipbuilding and its supply industries form the core of maritime economy, although marine research, deep-sea technology and marine biotechnology are also gaining in importance.
With an annual turnover of around €8.5 billion this sector accounts for 12% of Schleswig-Holstein’s gross domestic product (GDP). 15 educational and research institutions involved with the maritime economy operate in Schleswig-Holstein. In all, some 1,700 companies employ around 47,000 people in this sector.
To increase the competitiveness of the maritime economy, Schleswig-Holstein partners with the Maritime Cluster of North Germany, which also includes Lower Saxony, Hamburg, Bremen and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. Through an initiative of its own (“The Future of the Sea”) Schleswig-Holstein has also launched numerous activities in this field.

Your contact person

Nicole Wallmann

Business location consultant

Phone: +49 431 66 666-876
Fax: +49 431 66 666-794


Mechanical engineering

One of the important motors of innovation and growth in “The True North” is mechanical engineering. Companies from this sector are investing particularly intensively in research and development and display an unusually high export ratio of 65%. Global market leaders such as Sauer-Danfoss, Vossloh, Caterpillar and Jungheinrich profit from Schleswig-Holstein’s geographical location as well as the proximity of international ports and Hamburg Airport.

Nearly 200 companies employing around 21,000 people, many of them highly qualified, cover the entire value chain of mechanical engineering – from plant engineering, engine manufacturing and automation technology to machine tools and robotics. Besides the strong domestic demand, mechanical engineering “made in Schleswig-Holstein” is much in demand worldwide, with the emerging economies (and in particular China) traditionally the strongest export markets.

Just a few of Schleswig-Holstein’s mechanical engineering companies:

baader

edur

gabler

basler

hako

caterpillar

Your contact person

Beate Zitzlaff

Business location consultant

Phone: +49 431 66 666-874
Fax: +49 431 66 666-794


Renewables

Schleswig-Holstein exports clean energy. Thanks to the fresh breeze that frequently blows across the flatlands of Schleswig-Holstein around 2,900 wind turbines in on- and offshore wind parks generate nearly 3,500 megawatts of clean energy. To distribute all this power to where it is needed the state government is pushing ahead with the expansion of the grid. By early in the next decade, the state government and grid operators expect more energy to be generated from wind than nuclear power provided in 2006. Wind power already meets 40% of the state’s net power consumption. Parallel to this, the state government is promoting the expansion of other renewables, such as geothermal energy and biomass in rural areas. In all, some 2,100 companies in the renewables sector employ more than 7,000 people. The universities in Schleswig-Holstein have the highest proportion of relevant courses of any state in Germany, while networks such as windcomm or the CEWind Centre of Excellence support the transfer of knowledge and technology.

© grafikfoto.de

Your contact person

Kristian Hamel

Business location consultant

Phone: +49 431 66 666-878
Fax: +49 431 66 666-794


Tourism/hotels

On average, around 5.4 million overnight or day tourists come to Schleswig-Holstein each year. It’s hardly surprising. With 1,190 km of coastline, numerous beaches on two coastlines, around 300 lakes, 32,000 km of rivers and innumerable natural, cultural and leisure attractions, Schleswig-Holstein is a genuine holiday paradise. And the tourism industry is naturally the main beneficiary. Around 144,000 people employed in this sector generate an annual turnover of some €6.9 million.

Schleswig-Holstein’s tourism industry attracts around 75 million overnight stays and nearly 110 million day visitors or business travellers a year. And it’s not just tourism but also the trade, service and transport sectors that profit from the pulling power of Germany’s most northerly state. After all, businesses and specialist personnel really appreciate a business location with a high life and leisure quality.

Your contact persons

Frank Behrens

Business location consultant for hotel projects

Phone: +49 431 66 666-877
Fax: +49 431 66 666-794
Petra Stangenberg

Business location consultant for hotel projects

Phone: +49 431 66 666-877
Fax: +49 431 66 666-794

Wind energy

Over 200 companies and associations now operate in Schleswig-Holstein’s wind energy sector and around 7,000 jobs have already been created. More new jobs are expected, mainly on the west coast, when the offshore wind parks are operational. The key locations and ports for wind energy are Kiel, Lübeck, Rendsburg and Brunsbüttel.

  • Schleswig-Holstein offers an optimal research and study landscape for wind energy:
    The Master of Wind Engineering course offered at Kiel and Flensburg Universities of Applied Sciences is one of only two such wind energy degrees anywhere in the world.
  • Kiel University, Lübeck University of Applied Sciences, the West Coast University of Applied Sciences and Nordakademie also offer relevant courses.
  • Numerous companies in Schleswig-Holstein offer vocational training courses in occupations of relevance to the wind energy sector.
  • The Training Centre for Renewables and the Offshore Training and Development Cluster provide initial and further training courses to meet this sector’s specific requirements.
  • Two internationally renowned research institutions are located in Schleswig-Holstein: GEOMAR in Kiel and the Heimholtz Centre for Materials and Coastal Research in Geestacht.

Your contact person

Kristian Hamel

Business location consultant

Phone: +49 431 66 666-878
Fax: +49 431 66 666-794