IHK Berlin

Set-up grant

Employees who cease to be unemployed by taking up a self-employed, full-time occupation can apply for a start-up grant pursuant to section 93 para. 2 no. 2 Social Security Code (SGB) III at the Employment Agency to secure their livelihood and for social protection purposes. In order to receive the start-up grant, business start-ups must present the responsible Employment Agency with a business concept that has been checked for viability by a competent body. Founders who establish a business in Berlin can have their concepts assessed by the Berlin Chamber of Industry and Commerce. We do not issue statements for craft businesses or freelancers.

What is a set-up subsidy?

With the set-up subsidy, persons who are entitled to unemployment benefit (Arbeitslosengeld, ALG I) are granted a living allowance for the initial period of their self-employment. 

What are the deadlines?

You must have founded your company at least 150 days before your ALG-I claim expires. 
Important: The Employment Agencies calculate in days and not months.

How is funding provided?

Support can only be given to start-ups that are main occupations. The start-up grant is paid in two phases: 
  • In the first phase, founders receive a monthly allowance equal to the last unemployment benefit they received for six months to cover their living expenses. In addition, the Employment Agency grants a monthly subsidy of EUR 300 for social protection purposes. 
  • In the second phase, EUR 300 per month can be granted for a further nine months for social protection purposes. In order to continue receiving the subsidy, founders have to prove to the Employment Agency that they have been carrying out intensive business and entrepreneurial activities using suitable documents.

What needs to be remembered?

The funding is a discretionary payment, and there is no legal right to it. Applicants must convince the relevant Employment Agency of their personal, professional and commercial aptitude. Is the unemployed applicant really suitable for self-employment? Is there currently a suitable offer of dependent employment that they could accept in place of self-employment? 
Such questions also play a role the discussions with the agency clerks alongside the expert body's opinion of the business concept. As in an interview, it is important to convince the person opposite of yourself and your plans. 
Further information on the start-up subsidy can be obtained from the responsible Employment Agency (www.arbeitsagentur.de).

Which expert bodies are there?

The Chamber of Industry and Commerce can only issue statements for commercial start-up projects (with the exception of craft trades) based in Berlin.
  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry → for commercial activities,
  • Chamber of Crafts → for commercial craft activities,
  • Professional chambers (e.g. chambers of architects, doctors, guilds),
  • Professional associations → for freelancers,
  • Other (e.g. tax consultants, management consultants, auditors) → for all.

Expiration of the expert statement on the start-up grant in accordance with section 93 para. 2 no. 2 SGB llI

If out of the many possible options you opt for IHK Berlin as the expert body, you can send the required (unbound) documents to us by post or hand them to us during opening hours at our Service Center. After examination, you must return to the IHK Berlin Service Center to collect and pay for your statement.
It is not yet possible to send the documents by email, as the original documents must be submitted.
IHK Berlin charges a fee of EUR 50.00 plus VAT for the statement (see attached agreement). The fee is to be paid after collection of the statement from our Service Center (payment will be made by transfer).

What documents do you need to submit?

A statement can only be issued if all the necessary documents are submitted. Therefore, please follow our instructions below carefully. Please note the original documents that are needed for an expert opinion:
  • Original copy of the form “Anforderung der Stellungnahme einer fachkundigen Stelle zur Tragfähigkeit der Existenzgründung” (“Request for the opinion of a competent body on the viability of a start-up”) (pages 1+2) from the Employment Agency,
  • Business concept (precise description of the project),
  • Capital requirements plan (list of the purchases required for the foundation),
  • Financing plan (breakdown of the planned financing),
  • Sales and profitability forecasts/liquidity plans for at least 12 months in a monthly statement (a comparison of the expected sales and operating costs),
  • CV (in tabular form) and certificates as proof of your commercial and professional knowledge (references and certificates from abroad must be translated),
  • Breakdown of private living expenses,
  • Completed and signed original IHK-agreement (nicht barrierefrei, PDF-Datei · 100 KB),
  • If you have already registered your business, a copy of the business registration,
  • If applicable, the reason for discontinuing your previous business.
Help with creating a business plan can be found at www.Unternehmenswerkstatt-berlin.de. All the required components are explained there, and a tutor is available online for individual questions. You can easily create your business plan online, and that way be sure of not leaving out any important parts.
Additional documents, depending on the industry and the size of the company:
  • Copies of approvals and permissions,
  • Copy of the commercial rental or lease agreement (if necessary as a draft),
  • Copy of the sales-agent or subcontractor contract,
  • Copy of the purchase contract (with company takeovers or shareholdings),
  • Balance sheets/annual financial statements and current business evaluations (only with takeovers),
  • Copy of the franchise or cooperation agreement,
  • Copy of the partnership agreement (e.g. with GbR or UG/GmbH).

The business concept

A precise description of the project is very important and should contain the essential components of your business idea in an understandable form. Above all, you need to make it clear how the business idea came about, what your objectives are, and how you want to stand out from the competition.
Explain your sales planning. How many customers do you need in order to achieve the required turnover? Please keep in mind that it is highly unlikely that 100% of your planned sales will be realised. Explain your calculation method.
For some business ideas, for example in innovative areas, it may make sense to include additional background information (e.g. studies, press reports, etc.).
The following contents must be taken into account when creating the concept:
  • Summary (origin of the business idea, founder, financial requirements),
  • Description of the products and services offered,
  • Target group (Who? Where?),
  • Customer benefits (including in comparison to the competition),
  • Existing customer contacts,
  • Marketing, sales and acquisition measures,
  • Assessment of the competition (Who? Comparison of products/services/prices),
  • Information on the location (e.g. transport connections, catchment area, business premises and opening hours),
  • Information on the legal form and shareholders,
  • Founder personality (professional knowledge, personal and entrepreneurial experience, commercial knowledge),
  • Price calculation – the calculation of the charge for your service (e.g. hourly/daily or commission rate) or the price range of the goods on offer,
  • Sales revenue calculation,
    • Working days divided into acquisition days and days that can be invoiced to the customer,
    • Price for products or services,
    • Number of customers,
  • Information on the planned hiring of employees (number/qualification) if applicable.
For commercial agents we also need the following information:
  • the contractual partner,
  • possible product and sales trainings,
  • the agreed catchment area,
  • the transferred customer base (only if planned).
Important: Free-of-charge Excel tables are available as templates for your financial planning at www.unternehmenswerkstatt-berlin.de. These templates simplify the creation of the required documents and also speed up the processing of your statement.

Capital requirements plan

How much money do you need to start your own business?
Enter the expected amounts for the investments and start-up costs that are due on foundation. Consider how much money you need for office and business equipment, machinery, vehicles and an initial warehouse for goods and materials in order to be able to provide a solid range of services or goods right from the start.
Do not calculate the working-capital requirements (e.g. for the pre-financing of orders) too tightly.

Financing plan

How do you intend to finance the calculated capital requirements? 
Can you cover your financing requirements with your own funds, or does a financing gap need to be closed with external funds (family loan, start-up loan, e.g. from the KfW/investment bank)? In principle, own funds are a solid basis for corporate financing and should therefore be used to an appropriate extent. It is important that you first submit the application to a bank and only then enter into financial obligations, such as rental contracts.
For example, if you want to introduce your own computer or a vehicle into the business, enter it under "Contributions in kind".

Personal drawing (private lifestyle costs)

How much money do you need to live? Here you should enter your private income and expenses for an average month in the first year. Remember, with the profit from your company you must be able to cover your own private costs and possibly those of your family.

Sales and profitability forecast/liquidity planning

Since the costs listed here are not fully applicable to every sector, you are also welcome to create your own comparison based on this sample.
The profitability and liquidity forecast should cover at least one year in the form of a monthly breakdown.
This forecast is a very important part of the concept, but it is not easy to calculate. Nevertheless, you should try to evaluate your chances of success as realistically as possible in this assessment. Try to avoid being too optimistic. Introduce your own knowledge and, if necessary, also include experienced specialists (tax consultants, management consultants, acquaintances with industry knowledge, consulting services, etc.) as well as industry figures (e.g. business-sector newsletters sent out by the cooperative banks).
Please also remember the following:
  • Companies with different lines of business (e.g. trading and services) should report the sales revenues of each separately.
  • All costs should relate to the business operation. As a rule, these can be assessed relatively realistically if, for example, appropriate research is carried out.
  • For personnel costs and statutory social-security contributions, only the wages/salaries and the employer's social-security contribution for employees are to be used. This also applies to part-time employment (mini-jobs).
  • Take loan interest rates into account in the profitability forecast. The repayment amounts are to be taken from the surpluses.
  • Depreciation is the term for the deduction of imputed amounts for the wear and tear of property, plant and equipment (the distribution of the acquisition costs over the expected useful life). They also include the depreciation of low-value assets (e.g. small furniture, professional software, desk chair).
Important: Please explain separately to the expert body the basis on which (e.g. market research results and other sources) you have made your sales revenue estimates. 
Please note that the Employment Agency does not generally accept business plans drawn up in English. We therefore recommend that you have the business plan translated after it has been prepared before handing it over to the responsible bodies. This also means we cannot accept an English business plan for review without the approval of the Employment Agency, as the reviewed documents have to be forwarded on a 1-to-1 basis.