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London's Businesses Look to Move after Brexit


FILE - People hold banners during a 'March for Europe' demonstration against Britain's decision to leave the European Union, in central London, Britain, July 2, 2016. (REUTERS/Neil Hall)

FILE - People hold banners during a 'March for Europe' demonstration against Britain's decision to leave the European Union, in central London, Britain, July 2, 2016. (REUTERS/Neil Hall)

Ten London start-up businesses have made inquiries about moving to Berlin since Britain voted to leave the European Union.

The business development group Berlin Partner made the announcement Monday.

Each of the new businesses have between 10 and 18 employees.

These small businesses are concerned about issues such as the cost of commercial property, the labor market, and the availability of accommodations.

Berlin Partner Director Stefan Franzke spoke at a news conference. He said that financial technology companies, known as fintechs, have shown the most interest in moving to Berlin from London.

Along with other European cities, Berlin wants to attract companies in London's fintech industry. The German capital says it is an affordable and resourceful substitute to other cities.

Berlin's Senator for Economics, Technology and Research, Cornelia Yzer, has sent hundreds of letters to British firms. She also has travelled to a conference called London Fintech Week. Yzer wanted to encourage start-up leaders to move their businesses to Berlin.

Other companies, such as Berlin Partner, are also attempting to get start-ups to move to Germany from London. Berlin Partner has launched a website in English that has information about how to set up a business. The company is also going to open an office in London in October to try to woo more companies.

A report by the accounting company Ernst and Young said Berlin attracted more than $2 billion in investment capital for start-up businesses in 2014. That is more than London in the same year.

Franzke said that the cost of living, skilled workers and the widespread use of English give start-up businesses a reason to come to Berlin.

The German capital has about 100 fintech start-ups. These include German mobile financial services firm Number26.

Franzke said he expected Berlin also to get inquiries from foreign start-ups that were interested in London, but are now considering other countries.

The competition among cities that want fintech companies will be tough. Franzke says he considers Amsterdam to be Berlin’s biggest competitor. The Dutch city used to be home to a number of global banks and has fast data connections.

I’m Mehrnoush Karimian-Ainsworth.

This story was reported by Reuters news service. Mehrnoush Karimian-Ainsworth adapted this story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

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Words in This Story

start-up – n. a new business

inquiries – n. a request for information : an official effort to collect and examine information about something

accommodation – n. a place where people can live, stay, or work

affordable – v. to be able to pay for (something)

encourage – v. to make (something) more appealing or more likely to happen

woo – v. to try to attract (someone, such as a customer, voter, worker, etc.) : to attempt to persuade (someone) to buy something from you, vote for you, work for you, etc.

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