Advice and Information

Before setting up your company, you should get as much advice and information as possible. Find out about the support that is provided, sometimes free of charge, by public and private institutions to people starting out in business.

You should first answer the following questions:

  • Do you have a promising business idea?
  • Do you have the personal and professional skills needed?
  • Is your assessment of the market correct?
  • Are your financial calculations realistic?

Advisory services

Chambers of Industry and Commerce [Industrie- und Handelskammern (IHK)]

General advice on all matters related to starting up in business (free).
The address of your nearest Chamber of Industry and Commerce can be found on the website of the German Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK).

Chambers of Skilled Crafts [Handwerkskammern (HWK)]

General advice on all matters related to starting up in business (free).
The address of your nearest Chamber of Skilled Crafts can be found on the website of the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH).

Professional associations

A number of professional associations, e.g. the German Association of Consulting Engineers, German Association of Journalists, etc. offer various forms of support, such as start-up advice, publications and profession-related information.

KfW

Through the federal government's financial support programmes, KfW supports people starting up in business and especially small and medium-sized enterprises. Go to the KfW website for more information about these business support programmes.

Tax advice

Tax consultants provide assistance on issues relating to tax law, business management, and in choosing the correct legal structure. The addresses of tax consultants can be found on the websites of the German Federal Chamber of Tax Consultants or the German Association of Tax Advisors.

Legal advice

Lawyers and notaries provide assistance, for example, in matters related to legal structure and contract issues (legal structure, purchase contract, etc.). The addresses of lawyers and notaries can be found here:

Business advice

Business consultants can offer in-depth advice on business management matters (concept, marketing, organisation, controlling, etc.). Addresses can be found on the following websites:

Federal Employment Agency [Agentur für Arbeit]

If you receive unemployment benefit I or II and wish to become self-employed, you may be eligible for a start-up or integration grant from the Federal Employment Agency. To find out more, contact the person in charge at your local employment agency.

Financial assistance may be available for professional business advice services:

Before starting up

Many federal states offer financial support to cover consultancy service costs or provide free consultancy services. To avail of this support, you should not have already established your company and you should avail of the consultancy service during the preparation phase. Information about offers and their terms and conditions is available from the points of contact in the federal states.

After starting up

The "Promoting Entrepreneurial Know-how" ["Förderung des unternehmerischen Know-hows] programme supports consultancy services for young entrepreneurs in the start-up and consolidation phase.

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