Up and Coming East

February 2020

Family firms play a huge role in the German economy, and nowhere more so than in the country’s formerly communist east.

A study by the Foundation for Family Businesses in Germany and Europe calculated that around 92 percent of eastern German businesses – some 420,000 in number – were family run. That’s compared to 89 percent in the western part of the country.

“The gradual re-industrialization of the eastern German federal states today is being carried out primarily by middle-class family businesses and is having a positive effect on the labor market,” wrote the authors of the study, which evaluated data from 4500 companies.

The study also found that eastern Germans firms were among the European leaders in the production of glass, paper and sweets. Eastern German companies are also increasingly active in making musical instruments, toys and spectacles.

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