Every fifth start-up has a founder with a migration background on average

Founders with a migration background are highly qualified and successful. But often there are obstacles in networking and financing.

About 20 percent of all start-ups in Germany have a founder with a migration background. This is shown by the "Migrant Founders Report", which was conducted for the first time by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and the Federal Association of German Start-ups. This means that people with a migration background are still underrepresented. Their share of the population is about five percentage points higher. The distribution varies greatly across Germany: while 26.6 percent of start-up founders in NRW have a migration history, no one in Thuringia or Brandenburg does. The study counts people with a migration background in the first or second generation. The report counts Biontech, Auto1, Delivery Hero and Research Gate, among others, as particularly successful startups.

"Diversity is not an option, it's a social necessity that we shouldn't wait for founders to advocate for," said Sophie Chung, CEO and founder of Qunomedical and a board member of the Startup Association. "Nurturing entrepreneurial talent should start in childhood: If we can break down the mental and actual barriers at a young age, we'll unleash the enormous potential that's been lying fallow."

An academic degree is held by nine out of ten of the founders with their own migration experience - compared to 84 percent across the ecosystem. They are also particularly likely to bring a STEM background. Immigrant founders also have a higher appetite for risk, according to the report. 68 percent aim for an exit, compared to 59 percent of all founders. In the past, start-ups by migrants were often emergency start-ups because they had poorer chances on the labour market, and this is still true today, says Gonca Türkeli-Dehnert, managing director of the Deutschlandstiftung Integration. "Today, however, start-ups are usually opportunity start-ups, predominantly by people with an academic degree."

In the areas of financing and cooperation, founders with a migration background currently still have difficulties. If they have a first-generation migration background, they received an average of 1.1 million euros in external capital - compared to 2.6 million euros on average in Germany. It is encouraging to see that founders with a migration background are contributing important impulses to the German start-up ecosystem, says Karl-Heinz Paqué, chairman of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. "In order for them to be even more successful in the future, they should receive more support when it comes to networking - with scientific institutions, for example. There is a clear gap here."


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