Nearly 3,000 foreigners launched firms in Vienna last year

Almost 3,000 non-Austrians set up new companies in Vienna in 2010, according to the city’s Economy Chamber (WKW).The WKW said today (Weds) that 2,900 bosses of new firms were foreigners, adding that another 5,000 Austrians established their own businesses in the capital in the past year.The organisation announced that the overall number of company foundations in the city edged up by 3.4 per cent year on year. The WKW emphasised that the number of newly set up firms across Austria rose by just 1.1 per cent. It also stressed that 41 per cent of company founders in Vienna were women in 2010, a higher share than ever before.Only seven per cent of people who set up companies in Vienna last year had no job when they decided to become self-employed, according to the WKW. A poll has shown that the vast majority of new firm founders wanted to become their own boss, while only 10 per cent felt they were forced into starting a business by economic circumstances.The number of business bankruptcies is meanwhile in decline. Fewer than 6,400 firms went bust across Austria in 2010, down by 7.8 per cent year on year. Around 23,600 staff were affected by last year’s 6,366 insolvencies – a 16 per cent decline compared to 2009. Vienna has traditionally registered the highest number of bankruptcies with 2,028 cases in 2010 followed by the province of Lower Austria where 926 companies went bust last year.Social Democratic (SPÖ) Labour Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer also had uplifting news recently. The minister said that an average 250,782 people were out of work in Austria last year, down by 3.7 per cent compared to 2009.Austrian firms offered 404,733 positions at the same time – 14.3 per cent more than the year before. Labour market experts said that, with 74 per cent, the majority of vacant jobs were full-time positions. Works council chiefs have claimed news about a recovering economy were deceiving due to the rising number of poorly paid part-time positions and subcontract labour offers.Austria is currently neck and neck with the Netherlands for the lowest jobless rate in the European Union (EU). Both countries managed to keep their unemployment rate below five per cent in the recent months.Vienna was the only Austrian province which suffered a year on year increase in unemployment (1.5 per cent) last year. All of the country’s other eight political regions registered significant year on year declines.