Start-ups and businesses in Hamburg

Services for start-ups and businesses

In the following, we highlight what our Chamber of Commerce can do for you if you plan to set up a business in Hamburg. The guideline of our services is "help founders to help themselves". Be aware, that mentioned programs, documents, counselling-services and links are usually in German. If you are in doubt, please ask the mentioned contacts. In the part II. and III. you will find links to topics and sources related to setting up a business in English language.

Our main services

In this chapter, we have compiled our services according to the five pre-launch phases.
We have a range of services for the Prospecting Phase (1):
Our online tool Unternehmenswerkstatt Deutschland provides a variety of information on founding a company, and enables you to elaborate your virtual personal business plan, supported if necessary by a tutor from our Chamber. This tool also enables you to improve the management of your company and to draw up a profile of corporate strengths and weaknesses.
Our initial and introductory consultation is the right point to start for you, if you need basic and general information on the steps to set up a business. Counselling is also available in English. 
Our Point of Single Contact is also a valuable source for all kind of questions in this phase. The services of the Point of Single Contact can be usually offered in English too.
The Business Start-Up Information Day is a three-hour information event covering all themes relevant to launching a new business (held in German)
The Change Business Exchange (Nexxt-Change-Unternehmensbörse) is a service for brokering business takeovers.
In the Research Phase (2) we can provide sound information on setting up a business:
Two-day business start-Up seminars covering all the main issues relating to starting up and consolidating a business are offered by our affiliated company, the HKBiS.
The Gründertreff der Wirtschaftsjunioren is a forum for company founders, offered by successor generation business leaders. It has presentations and discussions, and is held on the first Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in our Chamber of Commerce.
The Hamburg Chamber of Commerce business library Commerzbibliothek (business hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Mon-Thu; 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays) has literature on starting a new business and on all business-related topics.
The Concept Phase (3) is when you develop your business plan: In order to make your start-up launch a success, you should carefully elaborate your businessplan, which normally includes the following elements:
  • Concept
  • Private finance requirements
  • Preview on earning power
  • Liquidity planning
  • Capital demand and financing.
The Unternehmenswerkstatt Deutschland is a useful online tool in this phase.
In the Feedback Phase (4) we can provide you with valuable hints and feedback on your business plan. We are familiar with your industry and can provide information and advice on business ideas and business development assistance funds. Consultations by prior arrangement only, after you have provided us with a copy of your business plan.
We offer information on financing in our Finanzierungssprechtag, conducted by consultants from our Chamber of Commerce and local banks (held twice a month, by prior arrangement only).
The Implementation Phase (5) is when you register your business and enter the market. Register your business via the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg, at the competent district office (Bezirksamt) or with the Point of Single Contact. Certain businesses require an additional compulsory licence. We have listed these businesses here.
Of course, our support continues after you've got your business up and running. Get in contact with us once you need advice on financing, information on development support programmes to help you consolidate and expand your business etc.

Related topics

In the process of setting up a business, a whole lot of questions do arise. The following links compile some of the most usual topics that might occur during this process.
General legal information: Which legal form should be chosen? Where and how to register a business? Do I need specific a licence? These and other typical questions about legal issues are tackled here.
Information for international customers: Find out more about issues such as provisions on rights of residence, expansion opportunities for foreign businesses or the basic freedoms for EU-citizens EU under this header.
Business funding: Are you looking for a quick summary of the major sources of financial assistance? It's here - the TOP funding programme.

Useful links and sources

The Hamburg Welcome Centre is an official service facility of the District Office, District Mitte [Central] of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. Services offered by the Hamburg Welcome Centre inculde: general services to new residents, housing information service, special services for qualified professionals, and services to foreign students. The Hamburg Welcome Centre is the first point of contact for all new residents coming from Germany or abroad, and can make it easier for you to find your feet in your new home city.
Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) is a Limited fully owned by the Federal Government of Germany. Its investment guide tackles all kind of issues related to setting up a business, such as the German Tax system, social system, employees, as well as basic data on the German economy. A highly recommendable source.