Ernst von der Heide: Feeling at home in one of the strongest economic regions in Germany

Business and politics share a common goal in the IngolStadtLandPlus region: making living and working as pleasant as possible for highly qualified professionals and their families. This commitment is documented by seven key factors: awareness – location factors – networking – innovative spirit – educational opportunities – family-friendliness – recreational value.

1. Awareness: The economic robustness of the Ingol­StadtLandPlus region makes it an interesting place
to work and live. The Ingolstadt region is one of the most dynamic growth regions in Germany. The region has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country – 2.2 per cent in May 2014. Studies such as the one con­­ducted by the Bavarian Industry Asso­­ciation in 2011 or the economic index compiled by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2012 underscore its above-average economic strength and lo­­cal companies’ high willingness to invest.


This dynamic development is underpinned by an increasing population. The region’s four local administrations – the districts of Eichstätt, Neuburg-Schrobenhausen, Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm and the city of Ingolstadt – will see a steady increase in population until 2030. The population of the region has grown by 2,1 per cent to 466,807 between 2009 and 2013.

2. Solid location factors: The workforce also benefits from future-oriented location factors such as its infrastructure and company diversity. A high degree of mobi­l­ity is also an important location factor. The Ingolstadt region is cosmopolitan and located in the heart of Bavaria, halfway between the metropolises of Munich and Nurem­berg and ideally connected to the motorway and high-speed ICE railway networks as well as to Munich Airport. Another location factor is the high level of value creation in the region. This amounted to 13,724 million euros in 2009. The mobility sector is the most important pillar of re­­gional value creation, contributing 34 per cent.

However, it is not only the automotive industry that is strong here; many other high-tech sectors and international trade companies also profit from the entrepreneurial environment – while at the same time driving job creation in the region. For professionals, this means a wider range of companies interested in their employment profiles.


3. Networking: Holistic “employer branding” includes top local conditions for training and work. Companies in the region – from internationally active com­­panies such as Airbus Defence and Space with its Man­­ching site, Bauer AG, Media-Saturn and Audi to medium-sized trade businesses – place considerable importance on loca­­tion promotion. The activities are brought together by the Initiative Regionalmanagement Region Ingolstadt e.V., one of Germany’s largest public-private partnerships for regional development.

4. Innovative spirit: Innovation and dynamism inspire the area to live and work as a cosmopolitan and future-oriented region. The Audi corporation is planning to invest eleven billion euros by 2015, primarily in new products and technologies as well as the expansion of its sites. Of this amount, more than five billion euros are to be invested in its Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm sites in Germany. Airbus Defence and Space too, has established an important high-tech location in the region by founding its Military Aviation Centre in Manching (Pfaffenhofen district). An additional ex­­ample of the dynamism of innovation here are the companies from the mechan­­ical engineering and engineering services sectors, which benefit from cooperation with the automotive sector. This also re­­sults in a high number of start-ups. Accord­­ing to statistics compiled by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for the city of Ingolstadt and the surrounding districts, almost 4,000 people took on the risk of self-employment in 2012.


5. Educational facilities: The IngolStadt­­­LandPlus region provides professionals and their families from around the world with educational opportunities at the highest level. The first state university in Bavaria was founded in Ingolstadt nearly 600 years ago, and more is in­­vested in education and science here than in almost any other region. The Free State of Bavaria is currently providing funding of 51 million euros for the ex­­pan­­sion of Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences. In addition, the humanities-oriented Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (CU) is one of the state’s most respected universities. The CU has achieved top positions in the “CHE” ranking published in Germany’s “DIE ZEIT” university guide several times.
Furthermore, the international school SIS was established on the initiative of the Förderverein. The bilingual school had 35 pupils on its roll in 2009. This number had increased to 115, including the nursery class, by 2013. The students generally come from dual-nationality families from the USA, China, India and many other countries.


6. Services for families: The Ingol­­Stadt­­LandPlus region is very family-friendly thanks to its cooperation with business and individual municipalities. In the Ingol­­stadt region, companies and communities work hand-in-hand to provide workers and their families with ideal conditions for caring for thir children. The town of Schroben­hausen, one of the most family-friendly towns in Germany, works together with a range of providers such as the BRK (Bavarian Red Cross), AWO (Workers’ Welfare Organisation) and church institutions to ensure that children are guaranteed a nursery place. The initial fitting out of new child care facilities is financially supported by Bauer AG, who also finance the children’s holi­­day scheme that is now a fixed point in the calendar. The internationally operating high-tech company MBDA Sys­­tems from Schrobenhausen received the “Great Place to Work” award in 2012, putting it among the top 100 employers for the second time. Airbus Defence and Space in Manching and Media Saturn Germany were certified for their family-conscious human resources policies by the berufundfamilie (career and family) audit in December 2011. Airbus and Audi also make it easier to combine a career with family life by providing benefits such as flexible working time models, reserved nursery places and the goal of sustainably in­­creasing the number of women in management and technology jobs. Providing créche places and vacation childcare Media-Saturn and Airbus Defence and Space promote the work-life balance of their empoyees.


7. High recreational value: The wide-ranging, diverse and innovative recre­­ation and cultural services on offer in the region can stand up to any compar­­ison with major metropolises. The city of Ingolstadt and the surrounding rural dis­­tricts of Eichstätt, Neuburg-Schroben­­hausen and Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm offer not only many historical sights but also a wide range of cultural institutions of national importance, including a mu­­seum of modern art, the Lechner Museum in Ingolstadt and the Kelten-Römer-Museum with its excellent international network. Major events such as the international jazz festival, the Audi summer concerts, which have been held for more than 20 years and the popular open air classical music concert attract large numbers of visitors to the region every year. Professional sports are also attractive even beyond the region’s bor­­ders. The new Audi Sportpark is the home of Bundesliga football club FC Ingol­­stadt and is one of Germany’s most modern stadiums, while ERC Ingolstadt has been one of the top teams in the German Ice Hockey League for many years. And last but not least, the spectacular landscape made up of the Danube, Altmühl Valley and the green hills of the Hallertau are right on the doorstep.

1191382The author is business engineer and has held an executive position at Media-Saturn since 2013. Currently Ernst von der Heide is responsible for personal and compliance at the German subsidiary. Before that he worked in various functions at BMW, Munich. He is chairman of the „Initiative Regionalmanagement Region Ingolstadt e.V. (IRMA).