On the path towards your own business, you will need to deal with many new topics. Good advice can contribute to your business success. Even if you have obtained useful tips from friends and family, it is a good idea to obtain support from an expert in the field. Especially in the preparatory stages, comprehensive advice is very useful.
In Germany, there are many public information centres which will advise you as you set up your own business. On the Startup Portal, under “Advice and information”, you will find contact information for regional and national information centres for entrepreneurs with a migrant background. A general contact list is available on the Startup Portal. Similarly, the Authority Finder will also tell you about your nearest information centre.
Alternatively, you can hire a private consultancy firm which will support you as you prepare and embark on your business. Some German states will provide grants towards the cost of this kind of consultancy. What is important is that your place of residence and your company’s registered office is in Germany. The Startup Portal will tell you how to apply for this grant. The programme „Promoting Entrepreneurial Know-how“ helps entrepreneurs who have already founded their companies. The programme supports you with a financial subsidy towards a professional external consultation, amongst others, regarding all economic, financial, personnel and organizational questions of the business management.
Please note: You would be well advised to make sure you are well prepared for the consultation. That way the person you are talking to will know that you are serious about your business idea, and that you know what your objectives are. Don’t be shy to address business topics directly. In Germany, people tend to prefer dealing with concrete questions rather than excessive small talk.
Information for women: On the homepage of the Startup Portal for Female Entrepreneurs, a portal for female entrepreneurs planning to set up their own business, you will find information about advisory services which are especially geared to female entrepreneurs. For example, you may want to look for information centres offering initial consultation or orientation sessions especially for women, or you could use the women startup hotline.
As an entrepreneur, you will need business knowledge. Do you feel like you don’t know enough about running a business? Or would you like to freshen up your knowledge? Then we would advise you to consider some extra training. There are seminars to learn the basics of bookkeeping and accounting, for example. Many courses deal with special startup topics, too, such as writing up a business plan.
There are many organisations offering further training courses all over Germany. Especially the Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHK) and the Chambers of Crafts (HWK) will offer seminars on founding your own business near you.
A large selection of courses can also be found on KURSNET. Similarly, the Volkshochschulen adult education centres are suitable points of contact. Additional information is listed on the Startup Portal.
Information for women: The e-training offered by the Startup Portal contains six lessons for aspiring female entrepreneurs on the most important steps in setting up a business. In addition, the e-training contains information on balancing work and family life, part-time business startups or team startups and on personal insurances for female entrepreneurs (e-training is available in German only).
Getting help after the start
Once you have set up your business, there is still plenty of advice available. An expert may help you optimise your business processes or improve your business planning. An initial overview of the various offers available can be found on the Business Portal run by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).
The government-owned development bank KfW also offers numerous promotional programmes aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs. You might be interested in the coaching for young entrepreneurs (Gründercoaching) which you can apply for within five years after you have founded your business.
Information for women: On the homepage of the Startup Portal for Female Entrepreneurs, you will find information about advisory services which are especially geared towards female entrepreneurs.
BMWi Authority Finder
BMWi Overview no. 58: Where can I find a suitable German course?
iXPOS – The German Business Portal