Setting up a Business

Support Programmes

The Federal Republic of Germany, the German Länder and the European Union all have programmes to support people setting up in business. This is particularly the case in the eastern part of Germany. Most of these programmes take the form of loans, but some involve non-repayable grants. Government support loans typically have low interest rates, long repayment periods and in many cases a grace period before you need to commence repayment.

The Federal Government offers the following support loans which are managed by the KfW Mittelstandsbank and have to be applied for via your own bank:

  • Launch money (“StartGeld”)
  • Micro-loan (“Mikrodarlehen”)
  • Support for advice services (“Beratungsförderung”)
  • ERP entrepreneur capital for new start-ups (“ERP-Unternehmerkapital für Gründungen”)
  • Business loan (“Unternehmerkredit”)

Recipients of unemployment benefit (ALG) wishing to set up in business can apply for Start-up grants ("Gründungszuschuss") offered by the Employment Agency (“Agentur für Arbeit”).

For recipients of unemployment benefit II (ALG II) "Einstiegsgeld" (initial financial support) is offered.

Support funding must be applied for before the launch of the project. No support funding is approved subsequently.

You should always be able to document adequate professional and accounting expertise.

Beside that there are attractive grants towards advisory services for new start-ups. The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (“Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle, BAFA”) supports business advice via a grant towards the costs of advice for new start-ups and entrepreneurs.

The KfW Coaching Programme ("Gründercoaching Deutschland") supports people setting up a business with generous state grants for business advice, for instance for developing and implementing target-oriented PR and Marketing strategies. Qualified coaches with long-term professional experience are listed in the KfW-Beraterbörse.

Further Information and Useful Links (in German)

  • "Selbstbewusst an die Öffentlichkeit - Der unterschätzte Wert professioneller PR" in "WIR - Zeitschrift der Industrie- und Handelskammer zu Rostock", Heft 2 / 2008 (März-Ausgabe) 
  • "Öffentlichkeitsarbeit für den Mittelstand - Wie man im Labyrinth der PR-Agenturen die richtige findet" in "WIR - Zeitschrift der Industrie- und Handelskammer zu Rostock", Heft 3 / 2008 (April-Ausgabe)

(to be found in the "Archive")

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