Expert in the City: An Interview with Alexandra Schmidhuber from Invest in Bavaria
February • 27th, 2018
by the Expat in the City Team
Our Expert in the City today: Alexandra Schmidhuber
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Alexandra and I´m working at the marketing department of Invest in Bavaria. As the Business Promotion Agency of the State of Bavaria, we support international corporates and start-ups to set up business operations in Bavaria or expand existing units here. My colleagues provide all the key information and data required to enable companies to find their ideal location in Bavaria so that they can be successful right from the moment they settle here.
In what way does Invest in Bavaria connect the internationals to the city of Munich?
Alexandra Schmidhuber: We connect internationals with all relevant contributors needed for project realization and implementation – not only in Munich, but throughout Bavaria: public administrators, industry and professional associations, and key local networks. Our services are free; all enquiries, naturally, are handled confidentially.
You have been supporting Expat in the City since the very beginning. Why is this important to you?
Alexandra Schmidhuber: We want entrepreneurs settling in Bavaria, both short and long term, to feel comfortable and find their way around. Networks and fairs such as Expat in the City are a valuable contributor for this.
We are targeting primarily foreign companies that have not yet landed in Bavaria but are thinking about expanding abroad. To attract these companies, word of mouth and personal recommendations can play a vital role. Most Expats in the City visitors have a good connection to their home country and can relay our services to their former employers or colleagues. We often receive feedback that expats would have liked to have known about our services before, so the start of their own company in Bavaria would have been easier!
"Expand your network!"
Do you have some encouraging words or advice for expats in the city?
Alexandra Schmidhuber: Always keep in mind: You are not alone! Bavaria is really international. Companies like Google, IBM, Microsoft or Huawei, as well as a host of less well-known companies, have opened offices in Munich and offer an international workplace. Many native Bavarian companies, from major corporates, to SMEs and start-ups, are working with multicultural and English-speaking teams. But there is not only an international working environment in Bavaria. If you come with your family, you can find international schools as well. Only last year, even a tutoring center for Japanese pupils opened in Munich.
Munich and Nuremberg are examples for Bavaria’s internationality and cosmopolitanism. The proportion of foreign nationals living in these two cities is higher than that of foreign nationals living in Germany’s capital Berlin.
What is your favorite spot in Munich and why?
Alexandra Schmidhuber: 1. Enjoy a coffee at one of the small coffee bars like Shotgun Sisters or Emilo in Klenzestraße. Or if you prefer to have a coffee with a view, visit Vorhoelzer Café on the rooftop of the Technical University.
2. It is not an insider tip, but nevertheless always worth a walk: along the Isar river. Heading south from Müller'sche Volksbad to the Flaucher, you can bask in the sun until it sets in the evening.
3. An exciting area is in the making at the so called Werksviertel Mitte, near Munich's Ostbahnhof rail station. On the former factory site of a potato dumplings manufacturer, Kunstpark Ost (later the Kultfabrik) with many clubs and bars was founded at the end of the 1990s. Now it is called Werksviertel Mitte and a new concert hall and show stages are being built. This area has always been in transition and even today, a lot of new things and ideas are growing there. Last year a new Christmas market was started, and the area could become a new hot spot after the closure of Viehhof, which was famed as the center of Munich's subculture. Incidentally, the site is also home to Werk1, an incubator for digital start-ups.
Three tips for expats in the city:
Alexandra Schmidhuber: 1. Give yourself time to settle in! If you feel low and connecting to Germans difficult, keep on going. Wait for the summer: The charming atmosphere of Bavarian beer gardens makes us talkative!
2. Expand your network! Almost all international communities offer informal group meetings on a regular basis – so called “Stammtische” – where you can exchange or learn all about living in Bavaria, kids care and community specific cultural offers.
3. Stay curious! There is a lot to discover and Bavaria is a great place to be! Don´t stay all the time in the city – make trips to the surrounding and to different parts of Bavaria as often as possible!
Thank you for your time, Alexandra!
"Expats and Experts in the City" is an interview series by Expat in the City. Check it out and see what Munich Expats and Experts would like to share with you!