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Early stage

For some, it is the orientation, planning and founding stage, others speak of pre-seed, seed and start-up. Regardless of the term used to refer to this first phase of a company, it is without a doubt a particularly exciting stage in your career as a founder. After all, you will encounter numerous challenges, from registering your business to choosing the legal form and resulting tax consequences to protecting your brand. And as if that were not enough, your start-up also faces numerous further legal questions, for instance as regards the articles of association, supply agreements, GTCs, data protection or financing.

Business Registration

Smoothly register your business

Business registration is governed by public commercial law. To encounter no hold-ups when registering your company, the following should be borne in mind:

It is necessary to obtain a trade licence in order to carry out a trade. Moreover, a managing director under trade law has to be appointed who either also acts as managing director under commercial law or is employed at the company on at least a part-time basis and is liable for any violations of applicable trade regulations.

In principle, there are non-regulated (“free”) and regulated trades in Austria. A main difference is that in regulated trades, the trade licence holder or the managing director under trade law must be able to prove his or her professional competence.

In general, business activities can be started as soon as the competent trade authority has been notified (this applies to, e.g., most commercial enterprises). There are only a few cases in which operations may not be started before a special permit by the authorities has been obtained.

Business facilities may only be operated with a business facility permit. Certain business types considered “harmless”, such as office work, are exempt from this rule.

Depending on the type of activity or business facility, further permits may be required, for instance based on stipulations of water and waste management legislation.

Let us inform you about your rights and obligations related to a business registration. Of course our experts are also familiar with the detailed regulations applying to the individual trades. We will advise you throughout the entire registration procedure and support you in obtaining a business facility permit according to trade law.

A final word on trade licences

The topic of trade licences is not only relevant for start-ups and early-stage enterprises, but such permits can also play a role in a later expansion phase and a potential exit. Particularly when a company grows, it can become necessary to change or obtain further trade licences or business facility or other permits. If a trade activity is no longer carried out, the trade licence must be surrendered. If operations will be assumed after a break, the licence can be temporarily suspended. It must also be reported to the competent authority if a business facility will no longer be used. Depending on the business facility, you might be required to take the necessary precautions to ensure that the facility does not pose risks or emanate nuisances after the end of business operations.

Click here to download your business registration checklist.