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The Gründungszuschuss is a financial aid or grant to start new businesses in Germany. These are the main things that you will have to provide to the Arbeitsagentur for your application for the Gründungszuschuss to be considered completed:

  • Application for the grant.
  • Description of the project (business plan and financial plan).
  • Specialist assessment.
  • Proof of your knowledge and skills (CV).
  • Registration as self-employed.

There were three points that, mostly for the lack of information available online, were particularly problematic and time-consuming for me: proving that there was not a more reasonable alternative to the founding, justify that you need the grant for your living costs and getting an assessment from a specialists. They are not particularly difficult once you understand what it is about, so I’ll try to shed some light on them.

Living costs

Erläutern Sie bitte, inwieweit die Sicherung Ihres Lebensunterhaltes und die soziale Sicherung in der Zeit nach der Existenzgründung nur durch die Gewährung eines Gründungszuschusses gewährleistet werden kann.

You will have to justify that you need the grant to cover your living costs. Apparently, it’s not clear how the employees of the Arbeitsagentur are suppose to process the rplies to this questions. You should also include information about your living costs in the financial plan.

A recommended way of answering this question is to refer to the finance plan (that you should include in the business plan) and the break even point that appears there:

Weil die anfänglichen Erträge lt. Businessplan nicht ausreichend sind um in dieser Zeit den Lebensunterhalt zu bestreiten, ist der Gründungszuschuss nötig. Nach 6 Monaten (ist aus dem Businessplan ersichtlich) wird der > Break Even erreicht sein und die Ertäge auch für den Lebensunterhalt reichen.

Specialist assessment

You will need to receive professional advise and an assessment from a specialist. You will have to complete a form for the specialist (Anforderung der Stellungnahme einer fachkundigen Stelle zur Tragfähigkeit der Existenzgründung) and they will fill out another one for you (Stellungnahme einer fachkundigen Stelle zur Tragfähigkeit der Existenzgründung). The Arbeitsagentur should provide you with all these forms.

There are many kind of specialists who could give you the assessment, the Argeitsagentur seems to be very flexible with that. I can recommend you the following companies:

  • Unigarant Berlin: Among many other things, they do tax consultancy, payroll, financing and business management consulting. They have a great reputation.
  • BOSCH Unternehmensberatung: They are speacialised in giving this kind of assessments for this grant. Their services might cost you around 50 EUR.

Alternatives to the founding

If you have enough experience and skills that are in demand in the market, you might be asked to prove that it’s not possible for you to find a reasonable and safe job in the job market. Some reasons why you might not find are job are: lack of German skills, lack of job offers for very experienced professionals and lack of job offers that match the salary that you were perceiving before the unemployment.

I also strongly recommend you to detail the steps the you took in order to find a job in the market, like how many interviews you took, how many companies you got in touch with through the Jobborse service of the Arbeitsagentur and what are the offers that you received from the companies that you interviewed with.

Some final tips

  • If you don’t have a very good knowledge of German, better find someone to translate the Business plan for you.

  • You can register as a small business (Kleinunternehmer) even if the financial plan that you send to the Arbeitsagentur estimates that your income would be too high to be a small business. This might be easier for you at the beginning.

  • You can use this Excel spreadsheet as a starting point for your financial plan.