5 tips for successfully setting up a company in Austria

In order to get off to a good start in Austria with a newly founded company, there are a few things to consider. Not only on a bureaucratic level, but also on a human level. The Austrian Business Agency – Invest in Austria is specialised in helping founders from the very beginning and supporting them with free, personal advice.

Austria, its business landscape and also its inhabitants have a number of peculiarities here and there that are best familiarised with in advance. Therefore, here are 5 tips on how to successfully set up a company in Austria.

Gründen in Österreich

1. Business - with plan and strategy

Those who dare to take the step to Austria not only need a good product and the desire for entrepreneurial growth - above all, a business plan is one of the most important instruments for a successful start. In concrete terms, it is important to determine in advance which business activities are planned at the new location and to what extent.

"If you want to be well prepared, you should plan for contingencies," advises Birgit Reiter-Braunwieser, Director Central and Eastern Europe and Russia at ABA - Invest in Austria. "The business plan should cover at least three possible scenarios. Small companies in particular often underestimate this."

2. Work, regulations and flexibility? No contradiction in Austria

As an employer in Austria, you should be familiar with some specific features of labour law. These include a high degree of flexibility when terminating employment relationships.

According to Austrian labour law, the employer can terminate the employment relationship without giving reasons. The respective notice period for the employer usually depends on the duration of the employment relationship and is regulated differently for manual workers and salaried employees. Irrespective of the length of service, the period of notice for employees is always one month. If necessary, a trial month can also be agreed: during this period, both contracting parties can terminate the employment relationship at any time without giving reasons.

Doris Dobida, Director Germany North at ABA - Invest in Austria explains: "Flexibility in terminating employment relationships also lowers the hurdles for new hires and thus goes hand in hand with a short period of unemployment in Austria compared to the EU.

Doris Dobida, Director Germany North at ABA - Invest in Austria explains: "Flexibility in terminating employment contracts also lowers the hurdles for new hires and is thus accompanied in Austria by a short period of unemployment compared to the EU.

3. Build your network - Before you need it

A guiding principle that is particularly relevant in a small country like Austria. In this country, personal relationships are considered very important. These can decide on operational success and seriously influence the course of business. Therefore, it would be ideal to invest time at the new location and network well before entering the market.

"In addition to the Austrian Business Agency and the regional business relocation agencies, we recommend that investors establish contacts with the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and its trade associations and take advantage of the excellent industry clusters in Austria," says Martina Hölbing, Director Western Europe at ABA-Invest in Austria.

4. Tone of voice and reading between the lines

Austrians are generally considered to be "more comfortable" than their German neighbours. A characteristic that also has an impact on business life. For example, Austrian business partners are less "deal focused" than, say, American or German colleagues, and more interested in building a relationship of trust.

In a restaurant, people only talk about business over a "coffee". During the meal itself, there is a lot of small talk about weather, culture and sports. When it comes to criticism, Austrians tend to be reserved, negative things are often not openly expressed. Here you should learn to read between the lines and recognise a "no" or "yes", even if it is not pronounced openly. After all, an all too direct, blunt expression of opinion can be perceived as tactless in Austria.

In Austria, great importance is attached to punctuality and correct salutation. Titles are also taken particularly seriously and are also used. As a rule, all titles and job titles appear on business cards.

5. Professionals from abroad? - The Red-White-Red Card as a helpful tool

If you are planning to employ foreign workers from countries outside the European Union/EEA (third-country nationals) for your newly established company in Austria, find out in good time about the possibilities of obtaining the red-white-red card. Our colleagues from ABA – Work in Austria will be happy to help you here.

The main criteria for the employment of foreign workers are

  • Qualification & work experience
  • Age & Language skills
  • Minimum wage & adequate job offer

"ABA - Work in Austria supports companies in Austria in attracting international qualified specialists. In addition, we provide advice on all questions concerning the recruitment of foreign personnel". - René Tritscher, Managing Director ABA - Work in Austria.


For further tips and tricks on setting up a company in Austria, as well as personal and free advice, please contact the ABA - Invest in Austria team.

All about this can be found at: https://investinaustria.at/en/

About ABA:

The Austrian Business Agency is the official settlement agency of the Republic of Austria. From our head office in Vienna, around 30 employees work on projects in Europe, USA, Canada and Asia. As a free service, our team offers international investors tailor-made information, support and advice in the following areas:

  • All aspects of Austria as a business location in general
  • Location search and selection
  • Search for suitable company headquarters and real estate
  • Questions concerning the establishment of a company and advisory support during the establishment of a company
  • Subsidies and funding opportunities
  • Labour and tax law issues
  • Search for Austrian investment partners
  • All site-relevant questions after project implementation


The Authors:

Austrian Business Agency Invest in Austria

ABA - Invest in Austria is the business location agency of the Republic of Austria. The organisation supports foreign companies in setting up branches in Austria and advises international investors on Austria as a business location.

+43-1-588 58-0