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Access to finance

19 October 2009
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 13 June 2012

Information about the sources of finance and business support in Germany.


The Federal Government and the ERP Special Fund, the federal states and the EU support business founders, SMEs and entrepreneurs through support programmes. These generally involve loans but also non-repayable subsidies. Public assistance loans typically have low interest rates, long maturity dates and often a grace period before you have to start repaying the loan.

Public funding from the Federal Government and the federal states must be applied for from the company’s bank, i.e. from a commercial bank in the town where the company submitting the application is based. Financial commitments should not be entered into without first obtaining information about these types of support programme. Funding must generally be applied for before the start of the project. No funding will be granted after this point.

The main support programmes for business founders and SMEs:

Start-up coaching in Germany

Support for coaching measures for economic, financial and organisational matters (up to five years after the business is founded).

KfW StartGeld (start-up funds)

Support for part-time and full-time business start-ups, takeover of a company, acquisition of an active holding and stabilisation measures (up to three years after the business is founded).

KfW Unternehmerkredit (entrepreneur loan)

Support for medium and long-term financing of investments and working capital.

Entrepreneur capital: ERP capital for start-ups

Support for start-up and stabilisation projects: The loans (subordinated loans) carry unlimited liability and hence serve as equity (up to three years after the business is founded).

Joint scheme for improving regional economic structures (GRW)

Support for commercial investments and investments in local support infrastructures for economic activities, advisory services or training measures for structurally weak regions.

Suretyships of the Federal Government and the Länder

To secure loans to commercial businesses with a sustainable approach that do not have sufficient bankable securities.

Business support organisations can advise businesses on how to find financing.

Business support — Germany

Source: Your Europe

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