These grants come in a variety of types and programs. One frequently applied for by company founders is the start-up grant known as the “Gründungszuschuss.” This is applied for at the employment office (Arbeitsamt) by filling out the corresponding form. Additionally, a specific business concept needs to be submitted. This should include a business plan and financing plan. As a follow-up, you will have to have to obtain a Tragfähigkeitsbescheinigung (certification of economic viability) for your business concept from a competent body (“fachkundige Stelle”). This body may be an Industrie- und Handelskammer (IHK, Chamber of Industry & Commerce), a Handwerkskammer (HWK, Chamber of Skilled Crafts), or a tax advisor or attorney, provided they have the requisite know-how in business administration.
Key steps in the formation process
Generally speaking, the process of forming a company is full of hurdles. A number of aspects need to be carefully considered right at the outset. To begin with, you should ask yourself, “am I really an entrepreneur at heart?” One salient characteristic of an entrepreneur is his independence as a self-employed worker, of course. The German word “selbständig” for this type of activity includes the words “selbst” (oneself) and “ständig” (constantly) and thus already implies what your role as an entrepreneur will demand of you: the ability to work hard and long hours while keeping a watchful eye on the welfare of your company. If you can embrace that concept, then the next step is to to flesh out your idea and prepare for the market.
You will also have to have a clear idea of the product you intend to sell. Who are your target customers? What does the market look like? What range of services will you be offering? How and where do you intend to generate your turnover? Another key decision is selecting the legal form of your company. Will your planned activity qualify you as a self-employed freelancer or will you have to register your business with the trade office? Which legal form is optimal for your situation? Many different legal forms are available. To select the right one for you, it is often advisable to consult a specialist attorney for corporate law.