Start-up subsidy; application

If you receive unemployment benefit I and would like to start a business, you can receive financial support for this under certain conditions.


The start-up subsidy is intended to support you in securing your livelihood and social security after starting your own business. You can only receive a start-up grant if there are no suitable job offers for you and you want to pursue your self-employment on a full-time basis.

Before you apply for the start-up grant, you must be registered as unemployed; an immediate transition from employment to subsidized self-employment is not possible. The start-up grant can be paid in 2 phases:

  • Phase 1: 6 months start-up subsidy in the amount of the last unemployment benefit received to secure your livelihood plus a monthly lump sum of EUR 300.00 for social security.
  • Phase 2: 9 months subsidy in the amount of EUR 300.00 per month.

The start-up grant can be continued for 9 months after phase 1. The extent to which a renewed subsidy is possible must be decided on an individual basis.

You can earn as much as you want in addition to the start-up grant. However, you must carry out the self-employed activity as your main occupation. The start-up grant is not subject to income tax.

If you have met the requirements for the standard retirement pension, you can no longer receive the subsidy.

You can apply for the subsidy in addition to other subsidies for starting a business. There is no legal entitlement to the start-up subsidy.


  • You are receiving unemployment benefits in accordance with SGB III.
  • You still have a residual claim to unemployment benefits of at least 150 days when you start your self-employed activity.
  • You can provide evidence of the knowledge and skills required to carry out the self-employed activity.
  • You can present the positive opinion of an expert body on the viability of the business start-up. Expert bodies are, for example, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Chamber of Crafts or banks.
  • The employment agency has not been able to find you a new job on the labor market.
  • You have not yet reached the required age for drawing the standard old-age pension.


You must apply for the start-up grant at the employment agency:

  • Make an appointment for a consultation at the Employment Agency.
  • Your advisor will discuss with you what financial assistance is available for start-ups and what requirements you must meet.
  • After that, an expert body must positively assess your start-up project. You are free to choose the expert body. Expert bodies for the preparation of expert opinions are in particular:
    • Chambers of Industry and Commerce,
    • Chambers of Crafts,
    • guilds,
    • professional chambers,
    • trade associations or
    • credit institutions.
  • The employment agency will also check whether you meet the professional requirements for carrying out the intended self-employed activity.
  • You then apply for the start-up subsidy in writing to the local employment agency.
  • The employment agency initially approves the start-up subsidy for 6 months.
  • In order to receive the reduced subsidy for a further 9 months, you must apply again and prove that you have actually carried out the self-employed activity.


You must submit the application before you start the self-employment activity.

The application for the continuation of the start-up grant is subject to the 4-year statute of limitations.

Processing time

Provided all required documents are complete, processing your application usually takes between a few days and 12 weeks.

Required documents

  • Required document(s)

    • Proof of your knowledge and skills for carrying out the self-employed activity (for example, proof of qualifications, professional experience or participation in measures to prepare for starting a business) and
    • if you wish to carry on a trade or self-employed activity requiring a license, you will also need:
      • permission to practice the respective trade or self-employed activity
      • in the case of trades or trades-related professions: confirmation of registration in the register of trades at the Chamber of Trades and Crafts

    In addition, you must submit a statement from an expert body on the viability of the business start-up. For this you need:

    • a description of the business start-up project to explain the business idea (business plan),
    • your curriculum vitae (including certificates of qualification),
    • a capital requirement and financing plan,
    • a turnover and profitability forecast and
    • information on the extent to which the activity is actually self-employed.


  • none

Status: 30.07.2022

Responsible for editing: Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales

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