SET Partner Spotlight: A talk with Germany Trade and Invest

Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) is the economic development agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. With more than 50 offices in Germany and abroad, and its network of partners throughout the world, GTAI supports German companies setting up in foreign markets, promotes Germany as a business location and assists foreign companies setting up in Germany.

In an effort to better understand GTAIs endeavours, particularly regarding start-ups and the energy sector, we turned to Marlen Brüntrup from GTAI who has agreed to answer some questions.

Who is Germany Trade & Invest?

Marlen, GTAI: Germany Trade and Invest is a governmental agency which is associated to the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Our mission is to help German companies grow their trade activities and support foreign companies who seek to expand their business to Germany.

What is your role at Germany Trade & Invest?

Marlen, GTAI: I am part of our Energy, Building and Environmental Technology team and help foreign businesses of that sector with setting up a presence in Germany. The companies I mainly work with offer digital services for the energy industry, but we have experts for all kinds of energy and environmental technology topics: from storage solutions to energy efficiency to alternative fuels and charging stations to speed up e-mobility development in Germany.

Why do you think GTAI is important for energy start-ups?

Marlen, GTAI: Since we have 16 states in Germany, for foreign companies it might be difficult to decide where a company would like to setup a presence. We make sure that they receive the information and contacts required to make this decision. The German energy market is large and offers some attractive opportunities for innovative companies. Our mission is to make their expansion process as smooth as possible.

Where do you actually see potential for foreign start-ups in the German energy market?

Marlen, GTAI: After the massive expansion of renewable energies over the last decade, we now experience a need for solutions to facilitate the integration of renewables to deal with increasing decentralization and volatility. That concerns all aspects of the value chain: from the generation of energy itself to its distribution, trade and final consumption. Here, we see a market for innovative products and services which can range from prognosis & maintenance software to storage and smart grid solutions to applications for managing the energy consumption in private households. With regard to Germany’s carbon emission reduction targets, a transformation of the power sector alone won’t be sufficient. Hence, we also see a large potential for energy efficiency measures in the building sector and for solutions to decarbonize the mobility sector – be it through e-mobility or hydrogen.

How can GTAI help foreign start-ups with their market entrance to Germany?

Marlen, GTAI: We provide market intelligence and support companies with all questions regarding the ecosystem in Germany. Backed by a broad network of partners, we help them navigate within the German energy sector. We also want to make sure that they have all the necessary information about the legal and tax steps it takes to set up a business in Germany. And we are the first contact to find the right location in Germany – be it a co-working space or a production facility. Often we accompany companies over a long period of time. This is for instance the case with Enapter, a provider of small-scale hydrogen generators and one of the SET Award winners from last year. We have been in contact with the company from early onwards and supported them to setup an office in Berlin. Right now, my colleague Tobias supports them in finding locations for a production facility for Enapter’s electrolysers in Germany.

How can other start-ups and SET participants get in touch with GTAI and what do the GTAI services cost?

Marlen, GTAI: You can directly reach out me via or my colleague Tobias via You can find our other industry experts via the GTAI website. Also, if you are interested in our latest events, sign up for the newsletter. And of course, start-ups can meet me during future SET events. The good news: our services are free of charge!


Marlen Brüntrup

© GTAI/Illing & Vossbeck Fotografie.

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