In Germany, some 300 000 entrepreneurs take the plunge into self-employment each year. Start-ups are of vast significance for the economy: not only do they create new jobs, they also drive competitiveness and innovation in a social market economy.

Setting up a business has a positive impact on employment. Start-ups create some 600 000 new full-time jobs each year. Entrepreneurs turn innovative ideas into reality. With their new products and services, innovative start-ups safeguard a large number of sustainable jobs.

One start-up in five is ‘digital’, where digitalisation or the use of digital technologies plays a crucial role in the realisation of the business concept. Economic responsibility is spread across many shoulders, a concentration of power is prevented, and entrepreneurial freedom is fostered. The start-up scene is highly diverse. People of foreign origin are playing an increasingly prominent role and 43% of all new businesses are founded by women; women account for 46.1% of gainfully active persons aged between 15 and 64 (microcensus). Positive developments can particularly be seen in side-line businesses. In the case of full-time start-ups, women account for 39% of new businesses.

The spirit of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking starts in the classroom of general and vocational schools. The Entrepreneurial spirit in schools initiative gives pupils some initial practical experience in exciting business projects and lets them take responsibility in their own student company initiative.

The INVEST – grant for venture capital  for business angels investing private capital in innovative young start-up is already tax-exempt, and is being improved. This is making the programme much more attractive, and will boost the supply of capital to young companies. The route to self-employment involves many different steps so the German Government helps entrepreneurs as they set up in business. Information and careful planning are the foundations for a successful start as a new business.

There is a wide-ranging network of support services, initiatives and advisory services for entrepreneurs, such as:

  • chambers of industry and commerce (Industrie- und Handelskammern – IHK) and chambers of skilled crafts (Handwerkkammern – HWK)
  • local or regional agencies or business promotion companies
  • innovation, technology and business-incubation centres
  • employment agencies
  • professors of entrepreneurship / entrepreneur networks
  • start-up trade fairs
  • nationwide, regional and local start-up initiatives
  • business-plan competitions

The Young digital economy advisory board offers first-hand advice to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy on current issues of the information and communication industry. The advice focuses on the development and potential of the young digital economy, on new digital technologies, and on how to provide start-ups with a better environment in which to grow.

Source: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Website, revised by ReferNet Germany, Nov. 2017