Chamber of Commerce Proposes Dedicated Fund for “Radical Innovations”

Chamber of Commerce Proposes Dedicated Fund for “Radical Innovations”

Researchers in Austria are known for their expertise in fields such as quantum technology and artificial intelligence. Often, their groundbreaking research results are commercialized outside of Austria due to a lack of local funding for innovative companies. This was a point made by Harald Mahrer, the President of the Austrian Economic Chamber, in a recent discussion with journalists.

To counter this, Mahrer proposes the establishment of a “Radical Innovations” Fund to support growing innovative companies that are the result of basic research. He pointed out that these companies often don’t fit into conventional financing models.

Mahrer acknowledged that Austria is doing well in terms of early-stage financing, largely thanks to high public funding. However, when it comes to larger amounts needed during the growth phase, 99 percent of the funds come from international investors.

Billion Euro Fund

According to Mahrer, the proposed fund could be financed through both private and public resources, with the state potentially doubling private investments. He estimated the required volume to be “over one billion euros.”

Mahrer hopes this concept could serve the entire Central European area. He also aims to increase Austria’s research quota from the current 3.2 percent to 4.5 percent, which would place Austria second in the EU after Sweden.

Improvements Needed for the Start-up Package

Mahrer also commented on the government’s start-up package that was implemented earlier this year. While it has brought about improvements, he believes there are still many areas that need to be addressed, particularly the issue of employee participation.

The new Flexible Corporation model has not sufficiently solved the problem of incentivizing employees to participate in company success in a simple and tax-efficient way. According to Mahrer, the model is too complex at the tax level and does not fully address the issue.

Image Transformation

Mahrer also stressed the need for a repositioning of Austria’s image. Despite the country’s strength in sustainable technology, its image is still largely associated with Mozartkugeln and Lipizzaners.

Mahrer emphasized that effective repositioning is essential to attract skilled workers to Austria, which faces global competition. He also criticized the existing barriers for non-EU employees trying to move to Austria.