Applying for a start-up grant Unfortunately this specification of service has not yet been completely translated.
If you are unemployed and want to start your own business, you are entitled to financial support.
A start-up grant, or "Gründungszuschuss", is intended to help you with your living costs and guarantee social security benefits if you set up your own business. You are only entitled to a start-up grant if there are no other suitable job openings for you and if you want to be self-employed as your main occupation.
Before applying for a start-up grant, you must be registered as unemployed. You are not eligible for the grant if you are entering self-employment straight from a job. There are two start-up grant phases:
- Phase 1: a 6-month start-up grant equal to the last unemployment benefit received for living costs plus a monthly lump sum of EUR 300 for social security
- Phase 2: a 9-month grant of EUR 300 a month
After phase 1, you may be able to receive a start-up grant for a further 9 months. This will be decided on an individual basis.
The start-up grant will not be subject to income tax however much you earn on top of it.
You cannot apply for funding if you are eligible for a state pension.
You can apply for the grant in addition to other funding for self-employment. There is no legal entitlement to the start-up grant.
- Evidence of your knowledge and skills (e.g. qualifications, professional experience or participation in activities to help you set up as self-employed)
If you want to work in a licensed trade, you will also need:
- A trade permit
- For craft or trade professions:
- Confirmation of registration in the Register of Trades and Crafts with the Chamber of Trades and Crafts
You must also submit an opinion from a professional body, for which you will need:
- A business plan
- Your CV (including evidence of qualifications)
- A capital requirements and financing plan
- Turnover and profitability forecasts
- Information on what proportion of the business will be in a self-employed capacity
Forms: available from the Employment Agency
Can I do it online? No.
Do I need to do it in writing? Yes.
Do I need to attend in person? Yes.
Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA), Servicetelefon für Hörgeschädigte
Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA), Arbeitnehmer-Hotline
Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA), Dienststellenfinder
Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA), Arbeitgeber-Hotline
- You are in receipt of unemployment benefit I.
- You are still entitled to at least another 150 days of unemployment benefit upon becoming self-employed.
- You are able to prove that you have the knowledge and skills to pursue the activity in a self-employed capacity.
- You can provide a favourable opinion from a professional body on the viability of setting up as self-employed.
- The Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit) was unable to find a suitable opening for you on the job market.
- You are not eligible for a state pension.
Before taking the leap into self-employment, check your insurance obligations with your health insurance and pension fund, and find out whether you will still be covered.
Section 93 of the Social Code Book III (SGB III)
Section 94 of the Social Code Book III (SGB III)
Information from the Employment Agency on setting up as self-employed (in German)
Employment Agency brochure on start-up grants and setting up as self-employed (in German)
You must apply for the start-up grant through the Employment Agency:
- Make an appointment with the Employment Agency.
- Your adviser will tell you what financial support is available if you are setting up as self-employed and what conditions you need to meet.
You will then need a professional body to issue a favourable opinion on your start-up project. You can choose which one to use. Competent professional bodies include:
- Chambers of commerce and industry
- Chambers of trades and crafts
- Professional chambers
- Professional associations
- Credit institutions
- The Employment Agency will also check whether you meet the professional requirements to set up your own business.
- Then submit your start-up grant application in writing to your local Employment Agency.
- The Employment Agency awards the start-up grant for an initial period of 6 months (phase 1).
- If you wish to continue receiving the reduced grant for a further 9 months (phase 2), you must submit a new application.
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